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College Dreams, Social Justice: Activist Lizeth Soria

By Sikivu Hutchinson

Recently, the L.A. Times reported that California’s community college system, the gateway to jobs and university transfers for the majority of the state’s students of color, is in a state of deep fiscal crisis.  Fees are increasing, core classes that students need are scant, math and English remediation is the norm for incoming freshman, and vocational training is being pared to a nub — impacting the already abysmal transfer rate.  The implications of the community college crisis will be exacerbated by the low four year college-going rate for youth of color.   For example, at the end of each year in the main hallway at Gardena High School in Los Angeles there is a  display of seniors who’ve gotten accepted to four year colleges.  At a school of over 2300 students this cohort would only fill one classroom.

Gardena High student and AB540 Dreamer activist Lizeth Soria is an undocumented young woman and former student of mine who I have had the pleasure of mentoring through the Women’s Leadership Project feminist civic engagement program.  Liz has written the following appeal for support in her dream to go to college:

Hello Friends, family, and Allies: Hope you’ve had a great summer. My most exciting day so far was June 15th, when president Obama announced Deferred Action. Deferred Action is a progressive policy change that will grant undocumented youth the ability to work legally, obtain a Driver’s License, and walk through our neighborhoods without fear of being deported for at least 2 years.
In California, we also have the California DREAM Act (which will allow undocumented youth to access financial aid) going into effect in January 2013. While these are huge and exciting steps for undocumented youth, Deferred Action may be revoked if President Obama doesn’t win a second term and the California DREAM Act only allows undocumented students to access funds that are left over after citizens and residents have been awarded financial aid. So, I have decided to do the next best thing and fundraise my college tuition by recycling and/or asking for donations. Last year I met an undocumented college student at UCLA who fundraises over $2,000.00 each semester by recycling cans and plastic bottles–so I know this is  something I can accomplish, especially with your help.
Can you help me get to college by thinking green and recycling? THE PLAN:
Aside from collecting cans and bottles on my own, I am asking my friends, allies, and family to collect your own recyclables on my behalf.
I will collect your cans and bottles the last Saturday of each month.
Or, if you want me to stop by your home or work earlier that that, please call me at 424-731-6953 or email me at [email protected]
If you don’t have cans or plastic bottles you will and you would like to help me I am more than happy to accept donations.
Please let me know if you can make donations for $15 or more.  I will be very grateful to you.
Thanks,
Liz Soria