News Release

California Faculty Association stands with students fasting to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act
NEWS FROM THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION

Los Angeles – The California Faculty Association announced today that it fully supports the thirteen undocumented immigrant youth who are fasting to send an urgent message to Congress to pass the DREAM Act.  This week, a series of national actions is taking place to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act before year’s end.

Two CSU students are among the 13 participating in the three-day hunger strike that starts today at the federal building downtown Los Angeles and ends Friday, December 8 at sundown with a ‘breaking of bread’ vigil. 

Nearly a million DACA recipients risk deportation after March 5, 2018, including 23-year-old Sac State student Rosa, who made the nearly 400-mile drive after her last class on Tuesday night.  Rosa, who is majoring in Ethnic Studies, hopes to develop government policy or teach Chicano Studies at the community college level after she graduates. But without the protections of DACA and the DREAM Act, her goals feel farther out of reach. 

“This is our way of sending a really clear message to Congress that we’re not invisible,” Rosa said. “We are human beings and we need a permanent solution. Not fixing the DREAM act is putting our lives in limbo. For me, I feel like I’m constantly questioning whether I’ll be able to even use my education. It’s so uncertain. Everything is so uncertain.”

In addition to the fast, which is being organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and the California Dream Network (CDN), a caravan will depart from Los Angeles to visit several GOP Congress Representative district offices in Southern, Central, and Northern California.   

Margarita Berta-Ávila, a Professor of Education at Sacramento State and President of the CFA Capitol Chapter, said the uncertainty and heartbreak for faculty and students impacted by impending federal policy is palpable.

“On one end there’s fear for what could happen, but on the other end of that we are determined to fight as a collective and do whatever we can, not only as a campus community and as those who are privileged to have status, but also working in alliance with the broader community as well.”

The level of commitment and determination of undocu-scholars at Sac State and throughout the state is inspiring, she added.

 “They are really at the head of what I consider a civil rights movement,” Berta-Ávila said.  “This is part of a movement to obtain and demand a sense of humanity. These are individuals who are working to obtain the same goals and offer the same contributions to the community as everyone else, and in order to do so, they’re willing to put themselves at risk. We need to stand with them in solidarity to make that happen and ensure our Congress is listening to what the community wants. And what we want are real protections for our students and faculty.”

CFA’s support of students this week is just the latest example of its support for the rights of immigrants.  Earlier this year, the faculty led the legislative fight for Assembly Bill 21, which enacts protections for DACA recipients and undocumented students, faculty, and staff in the CSU system and the state’s community colleges.  The law protects access to financial aid, mandates legal representation, and underscores the constitutional right to due process.  Governor Brown signed the bill in October 2017.

Twelve of the thirteen Core Fasters this week are DACA recipients representing communities throughout California.  The nine women and four men represent the dreams and aspirations of immigrants throughout history.    These young people are students, breadwinners, members of faith communities, tutors, homecare workers, mathematicians, soccer players, Marvel comics fans, environmentalists, and a future firefighter, geriatrics specialist, and neurosurgeon.

For more information on the student fast and the caravan stops, contact:
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, (562) 243-5559 or jmcabrera@chirla.org and see the following:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 9:30 a.m.
Press Conference, introduction of 13 core fasters, start of Fast for the DREAM, and departure of Caravan for the DREAM
Federal Building, “Swiss Cheese” monument
255 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Wednesday, December 6 – Friday, December 8, 2017
Immigrant youth set up tents for three days.  Entertainment, faith services, and other activities at various times each day.
Federal building, “Swiss Cheese” monument
255 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA  90012

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 12 noon
Caravan for the DREAM:  Representative Cook’s District Office, rally
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Way, CA  92307

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 2 p.m.
Caravan for the DREAM;  Representative Knight’s District Office, rally
1008 West Avenue M-14, Ste. E
Palmdale, CA  93551

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 4 p.m.
Caravan for the DREAM:  Representative McCarthy’s District Office, rally
4100 Empire Dr., Ste. 150
Bakersfield, CA  93309

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AB 21 BACKGROUND

Assembly Bill 21, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra and sponsored by CFA, helps alleviate the impact of potential changes at the federal level to the DACA program, and requires the CSU and state community colleges, as well as requests that the UC system, establish policies and take actions to safeguard against immigration enforcement activities on campuses.

AB 21 was signed into law in October 2017. The legislation was inspired by a resolution passed by delegates to CFA’s 85th Assembly in March 2017.

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents more than 28,000 tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on the 23 campuses of the California State University system, from Humboldt State in the north, to San Diego State in the south. Learn more about CFA at calfac.org

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Contact: Lisa Cohen ‪310-395-2544, Alice Sunshine ‪510-384-1967, Niesha Fritz 916-281-8785

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