Alright good good. Hey, good afternoon or evening everyone depending on where you're tuning in from my name is José González Camarena. My pronouns are he, him and end, and I'm calling in from the ancestral homelands of the yolk. It's people in what is now known as the sound Keen Valley in Central California. No, I am typically based in Tempe, AZ. In my current role, I have the immense privilege of leading teach for America's DOC initiative, where I have the honor of supporting and learning from over 300 TFA core members and alumni who have gone through our program as DACA recipients. As a DACA recipient myself as one of the first documented educators in the Los Angeles region in 2014, and as someone whose immigration status has deeply impacted my personal, educational and professional journeys, I am deeply humbled to be in conversation with our incredible panelists tonight. Now before we get started, we want to take care of a few housekeeping items, put any questions for our speakers or myself into the Q&A using the Q&A function on your console menu bar. You can click on the attendee chat icon on your menu bar. TFA staff are in the chat to dialogue and respond to any questions. We also have closed captioning available which can be controlled using the closed caption icon on your media player. We know this might be a new platform for many of you. So just to let you know, this console is completely customizable to your needs. If you want to make a video bigger, for example, feel free to resize or move the media player around to suit your needs. We know that any conversation around equity and injustice has the potential to feel polarizing and even divisive. We hope you've joined us today to learn, listen, question and participate in a productive and safe environment. Our hope today is that we create a safe and brave space where complex questions are welcome and where learning is encouraged through grace. We hope that you will keep this in mind as well as as you dialogue in the chat today. With that in mind, we've crafted some group agreements that we ask this Community to engage in. First, engage in inquiry, but exercise empathy. Listen for understanding. Seek to understand the perspectives of others. Expect and accept non closure. And experience discomfort. Now, with these housekeeping items out of the way, I am so excited to introduce our special guests. Today we have Bombay John Bomba, plus Antonio Vargas and Reyna Montoya, who exercise their advocacy in so many ways. Whether through leveraging their platforms as award-winning actors, film makers, writers, producers, activists, educators, and entrepreneurs, these three folks are all having such a meaningful impact on the national discourse regarding immigrant justice. In EU S today. I'm excited to be here with you 3 tonight and I encourage all of you in the audience to go learn more about each of these three incredible human beings and their work. Check out their Bio's LinkedIn, your console on the speaker BIOS tab. And so, without further ado, welcome to our panelists. Thank you all. So so, so much for joining me here this evening. First, I'd I'd love for each of you to briefly bring us into your own personal stories, and particularly your experience growing up as as undocumented individuals in in our school systems here in in the US and to to kick us off. Lena I would. I would love for you to to kick us off. Pass it over to you. Hi everyone, it's such an honor to be here with you all today. My name is Reyna Montoya. Pronouns are she her a yeah and my story begins with my mom and dad. One of the most resilient and powerful people that I know. Their names are Mario and Rosie and at the age of 10 we ended up migrating from the Quanah Mexico where I was born into another city in Mexico before we ended up in Mesa, AZ where I grew up and a lot of a lot of the reasons around my migrations. Sorry, I would learn years later when my dad was in deportation proceedings and I had to find out that my dad had been kidnapped by Mexican police. So a lot of trauma, a lot of corruption and a lot of fear really were present in my day to day life. And thankfully after many years of fighting he's safe. Now he's home, he's no longer in deportation proceedings. It took eight years for him to resolve his immigration status and now I'm a DACA recipient. And it's just. Like a true honor and privilege to be joining with y'all and exploring more about. I wear many different hats. One of them is that I was a classroom teacher. Proud TFA alum 2014. I was one of the first DACA teachers here in Arizona as well. Like you wholesale, but you're in LA. I was here in Arizona. I have been doing community organizing his 2010 so having very involved and now I am the Founder and CEO at ALIENTO. They'll get to share a little bit more bad. I don't want to monopolize the space. I'll pass it over to you. And Jose, I I'd love her for you to share a bit next. Oh great, uhm though. I'm I'm Jose you can say Filipino Jose is what I usually say. It is. Filipino American History Month. So if you see an Asian looking person with a Spanish name, it means they're Filipino. But you probably already know that, so I was born in the Philippines. And I got here in 93. And when I was twelve, my mom basically put me on a plane, just send me to the Bay Area where I'm now to live with my grandparents and didn't find that I was here without documents and I was 16. So this was in 1997. And so I'm saying that because I was basically a dreamer before there was a DREAM Act and before there was any language around what this was. And because the media is so powerful in shaping perception. When I was a kid, I thought that whenever immigration came up it was about like next people, specifically Mexican, right? So I thought it was the only non Mexican non Latin ex undocumented person in the country really until 2005. That was the first time I met someone who was undocumented, 'cause I spent basically all of my 20s hiding and lying about my immigration status so I can have a career as a journalist. So what I do now? 10 years of doing this work, is IT shirt defined American? So I started this organization all about how can we change the narrative of how people think of immigration and immigrants in the country? And when I say that, I mean the 45 million immigrant population in the country who will constitute 88% of the population growth in America, right? Like I live about a mile from UC Berkeley, you know? Last year for the first time, the you know the the largest population group. Across all UC's were a lot. Next students followed by Asian students, right? So how do we tell the story of this changing America at a time? For example, when black immigrants in this country, one out of 10 Black American, is a black immigrant. And yet most people don't know that right? And lastly, I'm just really happy to be here. I said yes to this event because rain and bombard here. I met right now, few times. She's incredible. I we had the privilege at define American of helping Bomba John out early in the process when he was getting ready to come out and tell his story. So I'm just happy to be here. So thank you for having me. Yeah, thank you so much for being here with us and thank you Trina as as well bombaj and love to hear a little bit from from you as well. Yeah, well, first and foremost thank you for having me. I I always don't take it lightly to speak about my story and the undocumented experience, especially the black one because a lot of times we we we can lack diversity even in undocumented spaces. So my name is Bobby John Bomba. I am an actor. I'm a filmmaker. I'm also an. Educator, so my story starts in the Ivory Coast. I was born in the Ivory Coast and when I was ten years old, my parents decided to leave the country because they got unstable. For all the reasons most. Most most. Most immigrants leave that black immigrants, especially leave their countries, and we we try to get political asylum in America. And I was ten years old so no one asked me any questions. It was just like you know, we're coming to America and I was like perfect. Let's go and I thought America was just gonna be, you know, manicure lawns, yellow buses, but we landed in the South Bronx in 92 and it was. Nothing like I expected like you could get robbed for your sneakers, and I only spoke French. It was it was tough and you had to be tough to be there. So uhm. High school well we started in elementary school and that was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I remember metal detectors, they put me in a Spanish ESL class 'cause that was the only thing that was available for someone like me and Fast forward got went through a lot of bullying and got tough. Went to to high school and in Virginia actually and everything started like coming together we. We really didn't talk much about our immigration status. I just know we were fighting this asylum case since I can remember. He never asked me any questions or told me anything. It was really like a taboo thing in our family and even in the black community about sharing your immigration status. So I didn't really pay much attention to that. I got involved in the in the arts and sports was like Homecoming King. I did theater now wanted to be an actor and everything was just like looking perfect. And then I found out I was undocumented when I was applying for financial aid and for me that was. Uhm? Like like like a very important moment in my life because it's almost like I never really thought about it or even knew what it meant. So I I thought my dreams were over, but thank God for good teachers and supporting parents, specially African parents that are like hey, you don't have to be a lawyer or an engineer. You can be an actor and you know with their little business they paid. For my career went back to New York. Long story short. Uhm, I was just hoping that I could work hard and be successful and eventually I would have papers, but that's not how it went down 2012. Doctor comes out and I can finally work and be free of not being deported and dumb Trump comes in the picture and I'm like man he's gonna cancel DACA. Everything I've worked for and I remember seeing young undocumented people just like sharing their stories and they were so bold and they didn't even have the platforms that I had. Built at the time in my career, being in Black Panther in a bunch of TV series and I had my daughter and decided like I needed to do something I needed to. Add my voice. I needed to put some skin in the game and I saw wholesale Daniel Vargas documentary, undocumented. I was like if you can do it and he doesn't even Maybe I can do it too. So yeah, that's what we did and they helped me with the coming out story and we're still fighting to this day. It's it's funny 'cause when when it happened I think this was like 2017. I really thought because of all the momentum we had in Dhaka. That within a couple of years it would have been over. We would definitely have DACA, but here we are at 2021 and it looks like we're still fighting and we're gonna be fighting for a long time. So that's a little bit about me. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing and thank you three. I think one one thing that I want to say here at the top of our time together is just how much I admire each of the three of you. And Bamba, John and Jose. No, we have not met in person, though I have. We have been in the same spaces together in person and Lena II. Like to think that that we've become good friends over the course of the years. But I've been following you and your work since before I even met you and moved to Arizona as well. And I think that the three of you share. Your narratives, your stories so so powerfully. And sometimes so heartbreakingly as well, right, uh, I think that the three of you touched on. Just that the resilience and the stamina that we've had to have, right? I've been in the US myself since 1994. And. I remember the following the first presidential election that I can remember following in the news super closely as a child was at the 2000 election right? And every. Every two years, every midterm, every presidential election like this, this is going to be. It's something's going to happen in this Congress. And here we are. All all these years later. But I'd like to hear a little bit more from from you. All. You've shared a bit about your your stories. But that the overarching narrative in in EU. S. Right and and what everyone is hearing, it's not. It's not always this right? And can be so disjointed. So what narrative would you like the the audience with us here, today? And more broadly, the nation to have about your experiences? And about our communities, your communities, so in other words, well, would you like people to walk away understanding about what it means to be an immigrant in in the US and particularly given your individual contacts and experience? And has had left it to start this one with you. Uhm? I think. So as I said, I'm I'm Filipino, so one of the things I really learned very early on. Was how different being undocumented is. For different racial groups. Right like I remember doing an event in North Carolina. When this undocumented Korean man came to me and was just like you know, it's just surprised that I was openly talking about being undocumented because it's just not something. Asian people do, and he talked about like the shame of it. And then a few years later, I remember we have a friend that rain on Bombay know that guy named Ju Hong. He is incredibly brave. When Obama was President Obama was speaking, he actually started. Shouting and heckling at the president, right, calling him Deporter in chief. While Obama was being this and, you know, Juhan talks about how one out of seven Koreans here in this country is undocumented. One out of seven. And whenever I bring that up and like Asian community, you know Asian American communities or within Korean American communities. People did not want to talk about it. I remembered, you know, trying to convince Korean newspapers and magazines like to do a feature on undocumented Koreans, and they did not want to touch it. They want to talk about undocumented Latin people, right? But they did not work out. Well documented Koreans. So the denial I think, and the shame is really deep. And it requires. Real effort I think, and resources to make sure that that that that the Asian community that undocumented Asian community feels comfortable and safe to talk about it. Right, and even here in California, you know where I'm from like I remember when doc up first was being implemented and people contacting me because they were having a hard time getting undocumented Asian students to sign up for DACA. 'cause then they have to admit. Right, so there's that, but this shame though, and I think this invisibility is something that cuts across all racial groups. The other thing I remember that's why we were so happy to work with Bamba was when I first started doing this work. I didn't know block immigration groups. I knew oboji. Right, the Black Alliance for justification, but I did not know that there was a knock you block. Right, so I think figuring out how we can really be more inclusive. Is one narrative that I hope everybody is thinking about. And when I say that, I mean also inclusion of LGBTQ plus immigrants, inclusion of undocumented immigrants with disability, right? Like inclusion actually means inclusion. It doesn't mean only people you're comfortable with or that speaks the same language as you. So I think that that's a big one. I think the whole hopefully people take. Absolutely it is not a single narrative, right? It is not a monolithic. Community even. I teach for America, right? The 300 plus folks that I I named earlier. They represent dozens of countries of origin across the world, right across the Asian continent, across African continent. Latin America shore, South America, sure, but the rest of the world as well. And it is so important that we not invisible eyes and and erase those those experiences as well. I mean, I, I'd love to hear from you as well what? What narrative, what? What do you hope that folks in in this nation in this audience walk walk away with? I really appreciate the nuances that has Antonio Vargas Springs and what he was sharing about that. We're not monolithic, right? I think that when people think about immigrants, there's been a specific narrative that has come across. But I also think about our indigenous brothers and sisters right or indigenous siblings that I I come from Arizona, a place that used to be Mexico, and there's so much history there's so much history in the Southwest that because of media or other. People think people in power. It tends to be very East Coast space, so geography is also a difference that I think that is important to understand the chain, the history and how much it has been passing on and that this is not a phenomenal just for EU S right we we started hearing more about Immigrations. There's a big anti immigrant movement in Europe happening as well as we side here with the rise of Trump this is not something that is unique that is. Neil, and that it carries generational trauma. So where I come from, I mentioned a little bit that I was born in Mexico, but I grew up where I grew up in Arizona, in the valley of the Sun, where it was the epicenter of hate that you would hear. This anti immigrant narratives penetrate into our classrooms that then became laws that prevented us to pay in state tuition, and that eventually were stopping us. If we had an accident or if we were looking a little bit too dark or. Or looked illegal as they would call us and that's spread like a wild flower in. In many parts of EU. S. Florida had to do a copycat Georgia and we have this history and then I think about. How was I feeling that that's little rain? I like to think about how was little Raina failing. I didn't know about all these policies. I didn't know the names of it, but I knew that my mom would become nervous every time that we had to drive and not knowing if that was the last time that we were gonna be home together or going to the grocery store meant that we were gonna be separated and that was the last time that we were going to be coming home. And I think that the shame that our families Gary goes through generations and generations, something that I didn't even know about my own migration history. Is that my great grandpa on my dad's side was actually an immigrant from China. To make it go. And we can go back and back and back with so many of the nuances that we carry. But there's so much shame in our family sometimes that we don't have the language or the tools, or we haven't healed those wounds that allow us to to continue to explore the curiosity of the human experience. So for me, I go back to to the very basics that we are all human beings, that we want to be treated with respect that we come with very different walks of lives. That it's not. A single identity, a single racial group, but we are not monolithic and we have hearts and we have. Heart breaks and breakthroughs. Like any other human being, and I think for me at the end of the day, that's the essence. How do we acknowledge the privilege that so many of us may carry how we acknowledge as well the pains and the difficulties of not having an immigration status, and how that trickles? Into our little ones because at the end of the day, we're talking about whole families there, 17 million mixed immigration status families living in the US, and to put a global perspective, that's the size of what damala of Syria and the Netherlands. So just let that sink in. We're talking about 17 million mixed immigration status that have different immigrant realities. As a Packer recipient, I have a little bit more privileged than the undocumented students that I get to work with. And then yet I don't have the same privilege as a U.S. citizen, so it's complex decrease shame it creates killed and it creates a lot of a lot of heartbreak within the immigrant communities. But also we have that sense of resilience and were pushed because of survival mode where pushed to be creative to be innovative. So then there's so many assets that we get to bring not only from the financial standpoint but just from my creativity standpoint, and I think that that's what I would like people to know that our students. Our families are brilliant and then they serve healing. They deserve belonging and then they sell for an opportunity to just be human. Yeah. Thank you so much for enough for for grounding us in in that humanity in that in that shared humanity. Uhm? You know, and everything that that you're bringing bringing up bring brings for me. And let me. Take a deep breath here, uhm? I remember when when doppa. Was announced right? And what that was going to mean for for my mom and my dad, who hadn't seen their their moms in in a very long time, in in way too many years. And. Having lost my my Gran father, when when I was very young and my mom not being able to be there to mourn with with her family. Broke her and it was. It was so so hard on her and her family. And here we are again. All these years later, these policies. They're not just. They're not just writing on paper, right? They they impact human lives, my. My maternal grandmother passed away on Sunday and in Mexico and. I I came to California to be with my mom because neither my mom nor I could could be there with with her to say goodbye in person and those are. That is not a unique experience that is not unique to my family and it. It just doesn't need to be like this, right? And so I just really appreciate you being not grounding us in in that shared humanity in. Families and in children and in the students that that that we serve as well but Bamba. John, I'd love to to closeout this question with with your reflections. As as well, and to add to this complexity, and in this nuance. Yeah, thank you. Thank you all for you know. Just grounding everything in the humanity of what it is. I mean honestly, we're we're we're. We're just humans trying to trying to have a better life not only for us but also for our families. And I think that that's at the heart of all of our desires. Like for me when. When I see the images we we all saw about the the Haitian immigrants at the border with Border Patrol on horses whipping them. They had babies in their hands and they they they. They literally actually were already in America. But I think there was some kind of strategy to starve them so they can. They could leave and get water and food, which is completely, you know against. Everything this country is supposed to stand for, but. It breaks my heart. It it it it come. It's almost like this whole. What do we call it? They call it the reckoning that we had after George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey was all for nut like. How do we go through that and still come back to a place where we have white men on horses? Whipping black people in America? So I I just want to say that. Immigration is a black issue. Black immigrants deserve to be protected as a black immigrant. I mean, I walk around. People think I'm African American some of the times when I tell him I'm an immigrant like oh wow, I never thought about that, but I did. I catch the same hell that African Americans might catch from police officers, but as an undocumented immigrant I'm arrested or were arrested. Were deported at a higher rate than everybody else, so it it. It's just there's. There's a lot of work to do and I want to reflect it also to our black immigrants there. There are three, four million documented black immigrants, and there's also half a million undocumented black immigrants and a lot of times the the the people who end up becoming citizens. They it's almost like they forget what they all went through, and it's a it's like hey I took care of my business, take care of yours, you know I don't even want to talk about that. I I don't want America to take it away from me. And is this culture of shame that we all talked about where we just hiding in fear and we're like, oh, we don't want to talk about it. People are gonna look at me a certain way and if I say anything I'm gonna get deported. I can't tell you how many of my friends family members were like what the hell be wished you to come out as undocumented? Are you crazy? You're gonna get deported. And I was like, hey, look. I can't sit back and benefit off of the work of all the other undocumented groups and we're sitting back like, oh, this has nothing to do with us. It does not only that, I mean just just making it a little bit broader. It's a global thing. I remember a couple years ago we saw Africans being slaves in Libya and it was a big thing, but it still happens. We we we saw Africans drowning in the Mediterranean trying to get to Europe and it's still happening today. Bodies are still being washed up and and we saw we see black immigrants being shot by the police every day. It's a global phenomenon. So this goes to all the refugees out there. All the immigrants, but especially the black people. Globally it is an issue we all need to agree. Address we've all suffered too much at the hands of others, from from slavery to Jim Crow to colonialism, we've all been through so much. It's time for this thing to just end. It's time to change, and the only way that's going to happen is. We all gotta like put some skin in the game. That's. That's where I'm gonna end. Yeah, I can think thank you three. All three of you for her grounding us in in our shared humanity and. In housing in the diversity of experiences that that you were were naming and also as as I think a common threat across white. What you three were sharing is the intersection between racial equity and immigrant justice as well, right? So so thank you for for grounding us in. In that and I, I know we know that much of the work that you all are doing is centered on stewarding these narratives that you just mentioned and advocating for universal access to opportunity for basic human rights. So I'm curious to hear from one or or more if you want to. I'll let you all chime in, but what? What types of policies do you hope to see come forward to to steward this? This work that that you all have been leading for for so so long now. Who wants to go first? I can I could start really OK. I have two a big one in a small one. So in this country, right now only 16 states was DC. Allow us to drive. Right, and I know that a lot of emphasis is on the immigration reform and what's happening in DC, but I'm I'm just. I've been saying this for a couple of years now that if you look at the trajectory of the LGBTQ plus rights movement, it happens state by state by state. And I think you know Texas 1.8 million undocumented immigrants. Florida, a million undocumented immigrants and most of them with no DACA can't drive. And so that's one policy that we can. Actually, I remember the state of Oregon in 2015, the same year that Oregon legalized marijuana. Is the same year they took away drivers licenses from undocumented immigrants. Now it's great. You know I live in Berkeley, I'm great. I'm glad that here in California. Lee, you know weed is legal. That's great, but can we do both of them at the same time, right? That's one the big one is. I'm glad that Bamba mentioned this. This is a global issue. Right, there's 258 million migrants in the world. Right, and I think the more we think of this as a global issue, the better we will actually try to understand all the systems and structures in play. Right, I mean it's fascinating. The past few weeks looking at the the the the the race to like get to outer space, right? Like how much Bezos and and Eleanor of spending you know, flying outside of the earth when there are millions of people in this very earth who can't even go outside of their own country? So I think looking at the global component of this is really important, and what that means policy wise and I think looking at what's happening in your state right in your own community, while you can do there, I think is also really important. Speaking of that about. What can you do with in your community? I think that we need to start thinking about it. How do we get wins? I think that there's been so many broken promises for the immigrant community and it's always about credit. Positionality. Who's gonna get the credit, the Democrats or Republicans? Who's going to be able to rally? Add more more to face and I'm really proud to share with you a huge victory coming, Arizona. We don't always have to be any presenter of hate. We can be an epicenter of hope till nobody believed that we could. Actually get this done, but to this legislative cycle we got students who are undocumented, some of them for taka. Some allies were who were the friends and the peers of undocumented and DACA students said we can't continue to have 15 more years where our students don't have the ability to pay in state tuition. And after three years of fighting, bringing 300 students to the state Capitol in Arizona, we were able to get. Republican sponsors to refer a piece of legislation that is going to give the power to voters to making sure students, regardless of their immigration status. So not only Tucker students but also our undocumented students have an ability to pay in state tuition. It happened this year in Arizona because undocumented students and allies came together and we didn't give up and big shout out to Jose Patino, who's also my life partner. And he's also attacker recipient. Classroom teacher works with aliento. He crossed the bill because he was impacted just like me when we were in high school and we stopped hearing to the national discourse, we stopped having to put their faith in. Who's gonna have the right strategy or kids and our families. Are suffering and we have to be reminded that we also have a lot of power and that we can change that power. This balance by building relationships and it doesn't matter if it's Democrats or Republicans. How do we bring it to the table and make it about the issue and the opportunity that we can do to make sure that our families have a little bit more of peace? And I know that education is not going to solve everything, but that gives a huge upward mobility for our families that are dependent so much on our students. In our young people I know for me when I graduated college mean first generation student, it wasn't about Reinas victory, it was about paying respect for the sacrifices my mum and dad deal for all these years. And how do we break generational cycles to ensure that we know we're not staying in the shadows that were not staying in poverty, but we're value for who we are as people? So for me, it's like we need more of that. We need to not continue to just wait on California and New York to get their act together. Or national organizations that we need to actually listen to. The people who are the most impacted and no shame. I love my my siblings in New York in California, but I think at the end of the day, I think that there's this lack of hope in some of the states like Arizona or states in the Midwest or in the South that we're getting this very anti immigrant policies. And then there's hope. There's hope that we can. Changed and turned that around, so I hope that anybody who's listened listening out here that really is grounded, not only in the long term vision that we're trying to do in order to solve this global issue around immigration and the dignity and justice for immigrants. But how do we come back to local communities and make sure that we are accountable to winning for our families? Wow, yeah. I'm I. I love what you said right now 'cause we need we we we need to go we need to do everything simultaneously. Remember I said when I when I made my announcement and learned everything in 2017, I remember there was this thing where everyone was saying oh we wanna Clean DREAM Act like with no with with with no restrictions or we want to clean DREAM Act or we're not gonna take anything. Other than a clean dream Mac and I was like OK if we had some kind of bill that became something that was 2017, it's 2021 and another year or two. We could apply for citizenship and then help our parents and people in our family who don't have papers to get papers. So sometimes and this is this is just real talk, someone that's that's still kind of like outside looking in 'cause I don't run an organization. It just feels like. The longer we're in this limbo, the longer politicians and everyone else can just keep using us and making money and and being used as peons 'cause. I remember in 2017. They were fighting for for for some kind of bill for DACA, and, uh, they they were in a meeting with Trump, and I think Schumer Pelosi were there and they were like hashing it out and we were like, Oh my God, they there. She gonna shut the government down just so we could have papers. Yes. And then they come out the the the meeting. And instead of talking about our issues it became oh Trump said Africa shithole countries and then the whole thing became ****. Whole country, middle country. There's several countries this and I I remember I was at at CNN. They invited me and I knew they were gonna ask me this thing. Oh it's Trump racist and I I even hit up a host Antonio would be like yo what should I say it's Trump racist. I was kind of new at this thing so I remember she just asked me point blank is Trump racist? I'm like. Are you trying to eat your pepper soup in my mouth? Meaning that I? I mean, we, we all know who Trump is. Y'all elected this guy you did and almost reelected him again. And and mark my words, if we're not careful he's gonna come back and he can potentially win so it the whole conversation became Trump is racist and I was like no look, I don't, it's it's. I don't know if he's racist but what is important is let's deal with this. Issue of giving given Dreamers papers and a pathway to citizenship. And yeah, it's just the the conversation spun. The news media spun it into Trump being racist. And yeah we don't have anything and it's still we're still fighting for something, so I'd say. We need to stay focus. I'd say that, UM, when? Maybe it's not gonna be an all or nothing thing 'cause it's been. I don't know. Almost 40 decades since we had sweeping immigration reform, so let's get what we can so that some people get relief. And then those people will help others and more people get relief instead of just waiting from Democrats or Republicans. And we know their ego needs the right wing and the left wing to fly so. Member if I may, because I was there in 2017 I took two bands. I am 5/2 just to give a little bit of perception and I drove the 15 passenger banned from Arizona to to DC. My organization was not doing so well like we were in a very like shoestring budget and I remember it was like right away. We slept on churches, floors in order to be there which I spoke personally with my crew to 98 out of the. Senators 98, we couldn't get to Schumer. We couldn't get to McConnell, but within those negotiations, and I think that this is part of the conversation that we don't talk about right, that as you said, there was this clean dream, a conversation, and that they there was some advocates that they were saying all or nothing and look where we are all or nothing that has nothing and then jet wearing this conversation that there's some meaning that they're talking about apparel in place. That just now I'm not gonna get too in the weeds, I promise. But that actually means that we won't get a pathway to. Citizenship. It would help a lot of communities, but how come now it is OK to do that because we have a democratic President but it was not OK to do it under the Trump presidency. And all of these power dynamics we need to name them and our impacted community needs to know what's happening because if we stay silent. We're gonna continue to be walking empty handed and I feel used and I feel used constantly and I feel that I'm very privileged. I have a platform, I know the politics and the policy. I have been able to go to DC and advocate for myself, but at the same time like our communities are so tired of losing. In our communities are suffering and if we continue to have the all or nothing approach, the suffering will continue. Uhm, I just wanted to jump in and say. 'cause you know I've been doing this for a decade now and when I first started doing this, like Boba, I really needed to kind of understand the lay of the land right? And and since. And I think because I'm Asian. People projected onto me this model minority thing which is so sickening. It's so dangerous by the way, with a lot of Asian people. And I saw right away what rain is talking about, that this is about all the positioning, and I, you know, I used to be a political reporter, so I know how this **** goes and to see it happen. And in the name of because foundation, because organizations need to raise money right? Because they want to be tide to the Democratic Party because of that, that and that I mean for me I have to say that in this decade of doing this work, my most prized possession is my independence. Right, and that I'm not bought by anybody or anything we work with everybody. Right and I gotta say I was in a meeting once and you know, I respect a lot of the advocates that do this work. Right, who may not be undocumented, right? Like whatever their status are, but I was in a meeting pretty early on and I said in this closed door meeting I said. Well, like. We pass immigration reform. You all would be out of a job. Is that a reason why you still have this charge? And let me just say this very very very very clearly. And you know now that I'm older. Being undocumented is not a career. Right, right? It's not. Reenactment is not career. You gotta go. Do you gotta go do it you gotta go do. Right like I am a journalist. I'm a filmmaker. I'm a producer who happens to be undocumented. I'm not an undocumented journalist. I am not gonna let this condition that I don't have any control over define me. In my professional development. So it's really, really important. You always professionals talking through who's watching this. Make sure that you invest a lot of professional mentorship. Right 'cause I don't know right now. I don't know what you're hearing, but like I don't know what's gonna happen with DACA. Right and right now with the way are happening in DC, I hope that all of you are trying to figure out how to become entrepreneurs. Because when they say that you're in the DACA is no longer legal and work permits are gone. What are you gonna do? Right? Who are the people around you so you can start LLC's? Make sure check out immigrants rising, right? Make sure that you got to be in charge. Don't put all your eggs in the policy DC basket. You gotta go make plans for yourself and you surround yourself with people and mentors who are going to give you the kind of freedom that this U.S. government is not going to give you. Now I think that the three of you touched on like four of the questions that I had for you in in this exchange here and really grounding us in. Again, that the complexity here, right, the need for the big win, but also the need for all of the smaller wins as well so. Raina, kudos to you. Kudos to Bottineau. Kudos to to Aliento and all of the folks who have. Made this progress so far right in referring this this opportunity to the Arizona electorate to do right by all Arizona students. On I think again. You know I I remember driving without a driver's license before I got back. I was 21 years old when I got DACA, and for the first time. And the need to drive existed before that, and I remember that fear. I remember the anxiety right? And it's those human emotions. Those human connections that I think our policymakers often neglect. Ranked when legislating, when when making policy you all have have touched on and I know you were touching on at the federal level, right? This pathway to citizenship via the reconciliation package? The reconciliation process that has now been struck down twice right? Plans A&B and we're now on to plan C. At the federal level, but I I want to zoom back into to our students and I'd love to have this conversation ongoing. I feel like we we could have this conversation for hours on end, but I do want to leave some time for for audience questions as well, but right now, as a former teacher and as someone who now works with students in in a different capacity but still working with students every single day, how do you see some of these? These these? Large scale policies, but also these more local and state level policies impacting our students. What challenges will opportunities do you see? Oh my gosh, that's a loaded question. I think about students that I work with. I actually have the privilege to work with little ones that are at the age of seven all the way to college students. And we do a lot of programming at ALIENTO. For those of you who may not speak Spanish stallion to translate into breath, but when you give valiant it to someone, it's like even words of encouragement. And that's what we were really boring to do to encourage our communities. What we're seeing in the classrooms is that ketosis and families carry that trauma, not because we're not speaking about that fear. That doesn't mean it doesn't trickle with that impacts their ability to learn their ability to thrive. And I always try to close my eyes and I think about what would it look like if your kiddos? If our families didn't have to worry? Imagine the way more potential that they would be able to achieve if they could pursue their dreams, and being able to do that. So part of the work that we really do. Italians, though it's been about seeing that gap, we partner with therapist where we provide free mental health work to in support to not only students with families because the students come with families and we have multi generational programming 'cause we need to be healing those generational trauma. And those generational wounds so we don't have to continue to be repeating cycles of abuse that sometimes we never learn how to heal them. So that's a lot of the things that I see. I see a lot of opportunity to have real and honest conversations about our mental health. How does that really intersex in the education space and what is our responsibility as schools and adults to really support keto's and families? I think one of the one of the opportunities that many communities started seeing, especially school leaders, was after cover 19 they started waking up to what our communities have been had to survive. For the for many, many years and they had to see the importance of mental health. This is this is something that our young people are struggling, that we're seeing that suicide continues to be one of the leading death causes in our nation and globally. So how do we make sure that we're caring for each other and they were supporting that? So I see that as a huge opportunity that doesn't need policymaking is just needs willingness to provide those resources at the schools from doing know your rights training. So being able to visible eyes the support when I was a classroom teacher had a bulletin board where I would put a scholarships and I would announce it to to my students and I would be like you all like there's so many resources. There's a scholarships out there and there's also scholarships for undocumented students and be a good ally if you are undocumented or you know someone who's undocumented, pass on the resources. There's so many community organizations that are doing incredible work. I'm so glad that has Antonio brought up immigrants risers. We have partnered up with them. Yes, get your LLC before getting back. I had my LLC and the hustle is real but there's so many ways that we can continue to be bringing those bridges and thinking about more holistic about what do. Our families and students really need in order to support them and really check for mentality that we don't have to wait? Until national politicians or national advocates save us, we don't need no saving. We just need really communities that are investing and that are carrying that at the end of the day, you don't need to be an expert. As a former educator, once an advocator always an advocator, sometimes we have this pressure that we have to know at all. But what we really need is humility and a lot of empathy. It doesn't matter if you know the immigration law, you can still give a helping hand. To make this possible, and for those of you joining from Arizona, please make sure that you're voting. If you have the right to vote. So as someone who doesn't have the right to vote, vote on the 2022 election. Sorry, so our undocumented students can have in state tuition. If you are outside of Arizona, like coming campus with us coming may make sure that you do phone calls or maybe pitching. Don't go that don't get that pumpkin spice latte and maybe you can pitch in $5 for us to making sure that we're doing the good work that we need to do. Endrina we we so all? All five of us here or 4 sorry. Off all four of us here once. Undocumented students in our publication 12 schools and in this nation, right? And and you, you've shared a little bit about your perspective as an educator, and you know what? I I went to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, right? I I share an alma mater with former President Trump and I turned down a career in private equity. To join Teach for America because of the mental health piece that that you were naming in large part Lena I in high school and in particular as someone who wasn't aspiring first generation college student pre California DREAM Act even with in state tuition rates in California which are astronomical by the way in our in our public institutions of higher Ed here in California. Uhm? I could only I was trying to re imagine how different my mental health could have been, how different my relationship to my parents, my relationship to education in school could have been if I felt like school was a space where there were resources where there were advocates who were helping me navigate these complex systems so that I didn't have to do it on on my own right. And that's what ultimately led me to to be a middle school math teacher through TFA for four years in. Northeast LA, but has Antonio Bombay. You are also students in our systems and in our K12 public education systems here, and I'd love to hear a little bit about what what you wish educators or others would have done to support you. Or if you know if you had a different experience from them than me and I, I sincerely hope that you did. Why? What did they do to to support you? If you had those no supports in? In your own K12 experience? If I may go, uhm, I. I didn't find out. I was technically undocumented until senior year, but when I did find out. Uhm, I after talking to my parents, I realized that my parents themselves didn't really understand the asylum case they were fighting and they they had gone through like a series of scrupulous lawyers who just stole their money or didn't file what needed to be filed. So are silent, just kept taking so long. And I remember talking to our school counselor. I was like man, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Like I, I didn't expect to be in this position. What can we do? And the only thing he could say was like hey man, just go to the Catholic Church, they're gonna help you get papers. And I was like, OK, I told my parents alright. Maybe go to the Catholic Church and my parents were like OK but so so there are a lot of kids who are in school who maybe don't know if they're in document. They don't know their parents situation. And if you're a counselor. In the school, you have a responsibility to help those kids the same way. BTQ kids knock knock it. Every GT teachers, teachers and and counselors or how to deal with kids going through those kind of transitions. I feel like we we we need the same thing for for kids who are who are undocumented, 'cause the the struggle is real. I've met a lot of kids out there who are traumatized 'cause they think their parents are going to get deported any day and they're gonna be. We put into foster homes and become homeless, so those things are very important. Another thing for for me. At least in my experience, I had very supportive teachers. Also, we're like bombur man. You're so talented you're gonna do it and they definitely helped me a lot. So there. There's also a lot to be said about teachers who can see a student who is undocumented may not have the same cards as everyone else, but it's like look, I'm gonna help you regardless. I'm gonna try to do everything that I can, but some kind of. Education for teachers to deal with the challenges among document students, I think would be key. And I'll say if you have, if you have anything to add, I'd welcome that. Otherwise I do have one. Just last lightning round question for you all before we pivot to some audience Q&A. Oh please, go ahead. My last question for you all, this is a very. Complex topic and issue and can be a very heavy conversation, particularly for folks who like everyone on on this panel are directly impacted by the conversation. But I I want to. Before I pivot to our audience questions. Just in one or two sentences from each of you quick lightning round here what is giving you hope what what gives you hope in in light of or despite the challenges the decades of heartbreak and gridlock? What brings you hope? OK, I'll just. Oh God rena. OK, uhm. I mean I when things get really rough and there's many nights that I that I still cry about, but the frustration of constantly having to leave with a lot of uncertainty and I'm very lucky that I have a really awesome therapist who's Latina and who is very culturally competent and and then getting those moments that I feel really down I I just try to close my eyes and I think about the 1417 year old. Young people that I work with. They're so powerful and and I still go back to the memory every single time we bring them to the state capitol or the US Capitol. And when they're coming out after talking to either a senator or representative and they said. Rena, they don't know anything. I had to educate them in everything about education and immigration policy in our students like we teach them to the legislation, the IRS code or what a specific provision on the policy. So then they just have this like joy of empowerment to know that it's like I'm teaching elected officials who do not know about our contacts. Aren't they supposed to be our leaders and just seeing that change in power, dynamic and seeing our students believing themselves? And believing that they have so much power and so much knowledge I I'm not sure believer that through education and through inter relationship building we can really really can change how we relate to each other. Because at the end of the day, even if we work to document everybody who is undocumented in this state. Stereotypes and prejudice and policies and cultures will still prevail, so until we start relating to each other at the human level and being able to see, hey, maybe I can listen. Maybe I can contribute. Maybe I can see something differently. I think that that's what gives me hope. There's nothing better than seeing a 14 year old educating a politician that is supposed to know what they're doing out to to make our government a better place. But then giving direction, I think. For me, that's what it's about. It's about our students. Feeling that they were seeing that they matter no matter what politicians or less are telling them. About themselves thank you Rayna. Uh, I'll add something. What gives me hope like you first and foremost is a is my daughter that that that's only four years old now. But that that that's in the school that is so diverse and is so open and we're teaching her everything that. We weren't taught in school in America, and even in Africa mean in Africa. You learn more about your colonial ex masters history than your own, so that that gives me hope. The youth also gives me hope I'm. I'm a youth mentor for an organization called Youth Cinema Project, and we're teaching filmmaking to kids from 4th grade all the way to seniors, and they get their films at the Latino International Film Festival and just seeing them tell their stories, their personal story of trauma, and even triumph some some of them have stories about immigration challenges and just being a part of that changing the the. Diversity of film makers, even in even starting at elementary school for that that that gives me hope and uhm yeah. And in Hollywood there's all this. There's this talk of diversity and as a filmmaker it seems hopeful that they're being open to more diverse voices like like like my own from a lot of different places and different kind of shows. So when when? When I see those kind of things, I'm like you know, what if I was growing up at this time and I saw an undocumented storyline like like say on Grey's Anatomy or all the other shows there on now. That gives me hope, especially when they allow people like define American and other organizations that come in and be like look, this is how our experience is so that it's reflected in this human. So those little things give me hope and help me keep going. Uhm, thank you Baba. I really, really appreciate that. At the Vine American. Actually to piggyback on what you're saying, I am hopeful that we have more storytellers who are fighting back against. Kind of the what you know with Toni Morrison, woman behind me, what she would call like the master narrative, right? Like we need more storytellers and film makers to like do that right. And you know, there's the end document or an undocumented films collective. There's so many more people now trying to tell and elevate these stories and so many different mediums. And I think that gives me a lot of hope. So like Morrison, you want to Google. To me the best speech. Ever given about the power of stories was when Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature. She had to give like a speech, and she ended the speech in 1993, the year that I arrived in this country. And in the speech she ends it by saying we die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language that may be the measure of our lives. So I think like. The language of representation, inclusivity and justice. I think that is all being rewritten right now, and I think that gives me a lot of hope in a country that's going to be more Asian, more like more Latin X and more black, right? Like that's where we're headed as a country. And so we need more storytellers to tell those stories about what that means. Thank you, thank you all so much. I I am hopeful for the future because of folks like you but also playing that what what you shared as a former educator myself. As a former middle school math teacher, I taught nearly 506 and 7th grade kiddos in northeast Delhi. All of whom knew my immigration status and who who I shared with uhm. And who just? Treated me with such empathy right and approached me with such an eagerness to to learn more. Uhm? And you know, when on September 5th, 2017? The. Announcement to rescind DACA was was made. My my poor kid is where we're coming to be like Mr Ken can we offer you like our garage to to live in and to like? What can we do to protect you right? Or are the questions that that they were coming to me with and I have no doubt that whatever they they pursue, right that that empathy will will stick with them for the rest of their lives. And the ways in which they view the world. The ways in which. They viewed the world then as eleven 1213 year olds and as they will continue to view the world as some of them are adults now. Gives me some so much hope, but with that I know where we're coming up on on time. I do want to get to our our Q&A here from the the audience we have a question from. Debra being how do you support students if they need a lawyer, and so I'm assuming we're talking about an immigration attorney here in in this question. I think there there are a ton of resources right there. The first thing that I will say is that there are a lot of unreliable resources out there that we need to be really careful about. But there are also a ton of really reliable resources, right that we can confidently refer our our student populations to generally right that we can have resources in our main offices or counselors offices. An has a database where folks can can search by, by ZIP code. Or low bono or pro bono. Legal representation in immigration cases. So I would. I would recommend that plus Antonio Reina, Bombay if there's any other resources, obviously you, you might find some some resources at ALIENTO at define American as well immigrants rising, which was named earlier in which is such a powerhouse full of great resources for immigrant communities across the US. But feel free to chime in. With any other resources that you all would refer folks to. Uhm, I would add ACLU. They also have a database and national immigration Law Center nilk. They also have a list of of of good immigration lawyers, but yeah. And this this next question from from Brian H. Specifically for you host Antonio. How can freelance writers and journalists help add to the conversation of inclusivity and freedom for for all beings in our communities? Uhm? Well, first of all, I just think we need more writers writing about this in an informed informed. I'm saying informed because so many journalists just do us Reino and Bomba know one of the things that we actually have to do is we have to educate the journalists who don't. You have the context or the history or the cultural sensitivity right to tackle. How nuanced and complex this is. So I define American. We actually just started the journalism partnerships program to specifically help journalists do a better job, right? And actually give journalist story ideas and tell them where to go and where to pitch review. Email me, I'm just Jose at define give me like a week to get back to you. 'cause sometimes I get invaded. I can I can totally connect you to not only some resources, but also like help, give some story ideas that can be ******* right? There's so many stories we need to tell at the local and national level and we need more writers to do them. Seriously folks, take him up on that offer, but give him give him that week of flexibility and greens. And. Question from from Joe J. Here for for all of our speakers from, from a legal standpoint, I'm curious about your journey through the legal process from DACA recipient to green card holder, citizenship, etc. What are common issues for individuals who are trying to immigrate? What can you suggest for law school students and future immigration lawyers as to what issues need to be addressed in the immigration system so? Like seven questions in in in that one in that one question. But Uhm, who who would like to tackle the complexity of of? You know, sometimes there's this misconception that exists of of the line, right that? All four of us have just chosen not to get into. Uhm? That misconception, that that exists but who would like to? To chime in. I would like to start just to ground us a little bit. That immigration is the second most difficult. Law the number one is taxes, so you can kind of get an idea with that. Immigration is extremely complex, bombard you talked about, it's been four decades of not recent immigration policies when we're talking about immigration, we're talking about so many different tentacles and from work visas to student visas to asylum cases, still victims of crimes like U visas, powers. I can spend a whole hour you're talking to you about that. But if you're taking anything away from that, it's the. It's the second most complex complex law. And let's remember, the law was not intended to really uplift our people. And I think that even though that it can be a great vehicle to advocate, just know its limitations and that's why we've been kind of going through a lot of heartbreak about that. We need some type of change at the local and national level and global level, but in the meantime as a law student, how do you understand your limitations? How do you understand the complexity and how do you do it with empathy and in collaboration? If I have to have four things that you're taking away, it's complex. Has so many tentacles and it's out dated 3 do it with empathy and collaborate. There's so many organizations out there that have the trust of the community, we don't need to reinvent the wheel partnered up and partnered up with the communities that really need it. We as an organization for example we do tackle renewals and we don't have a lot of attorneys that are willing to do pro bono cases, so that's also a big a big gap. So understand your limitations but understand. Your power to do it through empathy and and understanding the complexity that is at hand. Yeah, thank you Rayna complex. I've been trying to get papers since I was ten and the asylum case my parents applied for. It took 20 years before it was approved and when that happened I was over 21. So I was dumb I I couldn't avail of that green card. That same application that my parents started when I was ten finally got approved and all the sudden because I'm. Over 21 and married. Actually, I wasn't able to become a green card holder, so there really isn't a remedy in the law for someone like me. Someone like me, I'm stuck in this deportation order. Uh asylum case and I tried everything to reopen and terminate and even with all the success I've had in Hollywood, it's just it's it's just been one lawyer after another. I go to the best lawyers. I'm like OK, I hear you're good. Alright, here's my situation. What can you do? Ah, there's nothing in the law for Someone Like You, here's my situation. What can you do? OK, we could try this this, this and that and then that takes three years and it doesn't work and I just don't quit. And I'm just gonna keep trying as long as I can afford it because I didn't do anything wrong. It's it's I. It's not my fault that I'm here. I did not choose to be here, so. That's a little bit I could say about how complex it is, and I'm not the only one in this situation. I came here in the plane with the visa and I'm still trying. The the the only thing I'll add is what radio was kind of alluding to is the limitations of laws right? Like laws are not about justice, they're about power. Let me repeat this, laws are about. You know how are not about justice. All you gotta do is look at American history to look at every piece of law that was passed by the quote, unquote majority to limit people's freedom. And with this, just so, absolutely fight for Immigration Bill. Whenever that happens. Of course, get people drivers licenses. Let's make sure students can get full right and pay in state tuition. Fight for all of that. But that. Culture dictates politics and so long as we keep perpetuating anti immigrant narratives like today, I spent the morning today really upset about what's happening with high skill, quote unquote high, skilled visas for Indian immigrants, and how, though this whole idea that people would who are engineers are supposed to be more worthy, right then, say farmers who people think are low skilled as someone comes from a family of farmers. Like there's nothing low skilled about being a farmer, and this idea that we're pitting groups against each other is incredibly dangerous and morally irresponsible. So the language of this, the culture in which you know. Culture to me is like oxygen. It's like water, right? And if we're gonna really change this, we gotta face and confront that. And I mean there there are so many other questions still coming in from from our audience. But I want to be mindful and respectful of the fact that we are already over overtime for for the three of you. So if if you have any anything that you'd like to leave us with today, I'd love to invite you to share that here, but otherwise just thank you to our three incredible panelists for for joining us tonight. For those of you in the audience, please please please continue to do to do the work right and and to learn. Like Lena said, you don't need to be an expert in all things immigration to be an advocate to be an ally, but it will require some work. Right there will be some learning and and you don't always need to rely on on folks like us to do that. Learning right. You can do some of that learning on your own as well. But plus Antonio Rena bamba. Thank you so much for for joining us anything that you'd like to leave us with. Thank you so so much for. For those of you in the audience. Thank you for spending the evening with us. If you could please help us out by answering a quick survey that will open up shortly. That will help us make these events even better. Moving forward. We'd love to hear your feedback and we're looking forward to seeing you back for our future equity talks soon. Take care everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. _1652705817394

Access to opportunity should be a universal truth, but for so many, inequity and legislative instability leaves lives hanging in the balance. Join us for a conversation on immigration justice, where we’ll celebrate the diverse and intersectional immigrant community, explore the impact of immigration policies on our kids and communities, and actions you can take to advocate for immigration justice.