Educational opportunity for every resident of the United States is one of the cornerstones of our society. Nearly thirty years ago, the Supreme Court acknowledged as such by securing access to primary and secondary education to all U.S. residents regardless of their immigration status.
In Plyer v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented children had the right to attend free public primary and secondary schools. Ironically, these same students are not afforded the same educational privileges beyond high school. And so goes the fight for the Dream Act.
This issue is playing out all over the United States. Not only in states like Arizona or Georgia – but in the small Midwestern towns of Nebraska.
A new documentary, When the Counting Stops, profiles 6 Latino high school students pursuing their American dream in Crete, Nebraska. The trailer is posted below.
When one gets beyond the political rhetoric and noise, we see how advocating for the educational and professional goals of these young dreamers can only improve our country.
Claudio Sanchez of NPR hosts a stunning five part series on America’s dropout crisis. Latinos have the highest dropout rate in the United States (47%) followed by African-Americans (43%), Whites, and Asian-Americans. The series examines not only the long-term career consequences of dropping out but the economic losses associated with not educating our communities of color. Worth a watch when you have some time. Overview is below.
The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center has a sobering look at the educational experiences young men of color. It’s an intimate look at the experiences of minority students including the pressures and stress associated with being “different” in a variety of settings. These experiences obviously do not end once Latinos and other minorities enter the workforce.
Many of the stories resonate with me, especially losing interest in friends that chose a much different, and sometimes unfortunate, path in life.
As was the case during his life, the legacy of Robert Kennedy continues to support and recognize the importance of the Latino community. I was 5 years old growing up in Los Angeles when RFK was assassinated 43 years ago today. Even at that young age, I distinctly remember and understood the sadness and grief experienced throughout our community during those horrible days. Who can forget the images of Doleres Huerta, a leader in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Workers Union, at the podium with RFK moments after winning the California primary and minutes before being shot.
Today, RFK’s legacy lives on through the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights which recognizes leaders in the area of Human Rights. Many of RFK’s ideals still live today. In 2010 the organization recognized Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder of one of the most respected and successful human rights organizations in Mexico.
Black in America/Black in Latin America on PBS tonight delves into the history of African-Americans in Latin America. As the preview notes, most of our perspective regarding the African American experience centers on the United States and Europe. We fail to recognize that there is a long history of African Americans south of the border and in the Caribbean. The series is hosted by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Following more of today’s “media heavy” posts, here’s a nice piece from Univision showcasing the Latino market. You’re probably familair with this video format - an impressive view of the world’s 15th largest market. Enjoy! (h/t Giovanni Rodriguez).