"The Lives of Our Students Are Not Up for Debate": Educators Respond to DACA Repeal

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The Caucus of Working Educators is outraged at last week's decision by the Trump Administration to repeal DACAWe reject the repeal of DACA, along with any policy that targets our immigrant students or any of our students for their race, nationality, immigration status, class or religion, as an attack on our most fundamental values of justice, human rights, inclusion, equality, opportunity and strength in diversity.  As educators, we stand firm in the values and obligations highlighted in the recent trainings of educators by the School District to ensure that all teachers and staff in the SDP have the knowledge and tools to support our immigrant students and their families in these dangerous times.

All of our students and their families, regardless of their immigration status, race, national origin or religion, are an intrinsic part of the fabric of our schools and communities and have a right to an education, to safety, to family, to freedom from fear, and to hope for the future. We commit to work with immigrant-led organizations in our city to support and stand with our immigrant students and their families of all backgrounds and statuses - documented, DACAmented and undocumented - to ensure these rights. We see the repeal of DACA and other policies targeting immigrants as a part of a larger program of racism and white supremacy that singles out, scapegoats, vilifies and criminalizes Black and Brown immigrants, children, youth and families.

We are determined to help create schools and school communities that are empowering for students, teachers, staff and families to participate in this and all struggles for justice, human rights, real democracy and equality as we join to confront the critical issues of our time.

WE believes that those most impacted must be in the leadership and so in this moment we continue to look to and stand with immigrant leaders and immigrant-led organizations in our city and country as we respond to this and other attacks on the immigrant community. In this spirit, as the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions was made on Tuesday, WE members joined DACAmented and other immigrant leaders from JUNTOS and other immigrant-led organizations and the larger community in a rally at the Federal building and a march to the federal prison at 7th and Arch.

The lives and futures of our students and their families are not up for debate. All our students and their families belong in our schools, our community and in our country. We will be sharing information and suggestions soon on how educators can support their immigrant students and families and connect to local immigrant-led organizing.

Want to find out more? Join us for the first WE Monthly Organizing Meeting of the school year on Tuesday, September 12th from 4:30-6:30pm at Kensington CAPA High School (1901 Front St.). If you would like to join WE's Immigration Justice Committee, email us at contact@workingeducators.org.

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Field Trip: "Dolores" Film & Talkback with Dolores Huerta on 9/16

Rebel. Organizer. Feminist. Mother. Dolores Huerta is one of the most important organizers and visionaries behind the work of the United Farm Workers and beyond- and a new documentary opening in September tells the story of her life and work in the Labor, Feminist, and Latinx movements.

On Saturday, September 16th Dolores Huerta will be in Philly for a Q&A talkback after the 7pm show at the Landmark Ritz 5 Theater! Come learn some new organizing tricks and celebrate the work of one of the most important, but little known, women in the labor movement. Members of the Working Educators Immigration Justice Committee and Organizing Book Club will be there! 

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Tickets are still available for purchase online for $10.25 per adult at this link (just make sure it's the 7pm showing on 9/16). Check out the trailer below!

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WE Makes Immigrant Rights Training a Reality

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The WE Immigration Justice Committee is proud to announce that all School District of Philadelphia personnel will be trained to support the needs and rights of immigrant students and families.  

PeoplesInaug.jpgThe mandatory training was a central demand made by WE committee members during our spring organizing initiative. The District has committed to offering a 90-minute immigrant rights training to all teachers, principals, and support staff. School police officers and secretaries will also be trained at District Headquarters. 

AirportBanner.jpgThe District is looking for teachers willing to conduct the training at their schools or assist at other schools. If you care about making this program successful at your school, sign up for the training by logging on to www.PhilaSD.org and going into PD planner.Scroll.png

Here's how WE advocated for this program to happen:

During the fall, the WE immigration justice committee met with students, teachers, administrators, community members, and leaders from immigrant groups and immigrant rights organizations about how schools can support and protect immigrant students and families.

AirportJess.jpgThe committee then consolidated five policy recommendations in the following areas to be made to the School District:  limiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to schools; protecting the confidentiality around immigration status of immigrant students and families; providing language access; teaching educators awareness of immigration induced trauma; and creating hate-free schools. 

ForumWide.pngThe committee decided the best way for the District to implement these recommendations would be through a series of District-wide trainings.

In collaboration with students from the Newcomer Lerner Center, along with representatives from the Education Law Center, Juntos, the African Diaspora Global Initiative, and La Puerta Abierta organization, WE members and supporters testified before the School Reform Commission on May 18, 2017 asking that all School District personnel be trained in the five identified areas before the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. 

AiportKelley.jpgAfter the testimony, WE committee members met with School District leadership from the offices of Multilingual Family Support and Family and Community Engagement to understand how the District intends to implement the trainings.

Forum.Gym.jpgThe District has decided to host four train-the-trainer sessions in the middle of August to train educators to conduct the mandatory training in their schools. With the support of PFT and School District administrators, we are committed to disseminating the information for the train-the-trainer sessions and to recruiting educators to lead these important workshops in our schools. 

Please sign up today!

Trainers Wanted: Creating Safe and Welcoming Schools for Immigrant and Refugee Students

Please sign-up for a training AND speak to your building principal or administrator to let them know that you would like to help facilitate the training at your school. All school principals are required to provide this professional development session for all school-based staff. School principals can either deliver the session by themselves, or have a trained co-facilitator who is interested, willing, and available to assist them. The session will take 1.5 hours to complete and will be offered during the mandatory August school level professional development days (August 28, 29, 30).

PFT members with teaching experience are invited to receive training on a voluntary basis, should their school or another school leader seek a co-facilitator.

We encourage PFT members to take advantage of this opportunity to learn new ways to make sure our schools are safe spaces for EVERY child. 

The 1.5-hour train-the-trainer sessions will be held at 440 North Broad Street on the following dates:

  • August 14: 1:00 - 3:00 pm - Café 440

  • August 16: 9:00 - 11:00 am - Room 1071

  • August 21: 9:00 - 11:00 am - Room 1182

  • August 25: 9:00 - 11:00 am - Room 1080

At the end of each train-the-trainer session, the District will notify principals of who has successfully completed the training, so that principals know whom is available should they need assistance with the training.

Act 48 credits will be offered. Interested members should register using PD Planner.

For more information regarding this training opportunity, please email lsoderman@philasd.org or dromero@philasd.org

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Education! Not Deportation!

Philly School Solidarity Petition to be delivered to Superintendent Hite and the SRC January 19th, 2017

 

OUR SCHOOLS HAVE NO ROOM FOR HATE.

 

Today, students from Philly public schools are speaking to the SRC about their fears and concerns for themselves, families, and friends. They are delivering a petition, decorated with love by students in Philly art classes, sponsored by 40 local organizations, and signed by 1000 Philadelphia voters, family members, school staff, and students.

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Public schools must be safe places for all children. That’s why the School Reform Commission needs to join the Mayor in protecting the rights of all children and their families regardless of immigration status. We share the district’s stated policy goal “to foster knowledge about and respect for those of all races, ethnic groups, social classes, genders, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations, and gender, and transgender identities.” We call for the District to go further with policy that recognizes the intersecting needs of immigrant students and families. The district must uphold the US Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, privacy, and due process and refuse cooperation with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the fullest extent under the law. We also call on the District to protect all children and their families who are at risk because of the climate of fear following the election of Donald Trump including people of color, women, Muslims, and LGBTQ students. It’s time to train all district employees with the knowledge and tools they need to act in solidarity with our students and families in an increasingly hostile political environment.

 

Read and sign the full petition here: tinyurl.com/PhillySchoolSolidarityPetition

 

For a list of signers and more information:

Contact@WorkingEducators.org

 

Our City, Our Schools

Working Educators

 

Upcoming Events:

 

 

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4 Ways to Support Immigrant Students and Families This Week

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In recent months, Philly educators have been coming together to discuss how we can work in our schools and communities to support our immigrant students and families. Thank you to everyone who joined us for our kick-off discussion in December, or the follow-up discussions at the Collaboration of Educators at Central and Bache-Martin on 1/3. For more advocacy and Know Your Rights information, check out PICC's Resources Page and Juntos' Community Resources Page.

This week, there are multiple important events to push forward the conversation on how support students and families- and to take a stand in resistance to Trump's anti-immigrant agenda! Check them out below, and see you there.

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PHLed Immigration Justice Updates

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Want to support students and families, and get involved in the fight for immigration justice in Philly and beyond? Here are some opportunities and resources:

[Want to add an event, or join the Caucus of Working Educators' Immigration Justice Committee? Email us at contact@workingeducators.org]

Upcoming Immigration Justice Events:

  • Philadelphia Sanctuary District Petition:http://tinyurl.com/PhillySchoolSanctuary

  • Sanctuary in the Streets Trainings (sponsored by New Sanctuary Movement): To sign up, email maria@sanctuaryphiladelphia.org www.sanctuaryphiladelphia.org  Sunday 1/8/17 1-5pm West Philly & 2/12 1-5pm South Philly

  • Community Forum with SDP Office of Multilingual Families: Jan 17th, 5:30 - 7:00, 440 N. Broad, Contact: lsoderman@philasd.org

  • City of Philadelphia Community Town Hall Supporting Philly Immigrant Students: Tues 1/24/17 6-7:30pm Community College of Philadelphia Bonnell Bldg, 1700 Spring Garden St, entrance between Spring Garden & Callowhill on N 17th); for more info contact Councilmember Helen Gym 215-686-3420

  • The People’s Inauguration (Sponsored by New Sanctuary Movement): Jan 20th, 2pm-2:30pm, location tbd

  • PHLed Black Lives Matter Week of Action: 1/23-1/27/17 Complete program available at: bit.ly/BLMPHLed

  • Immigration Justice Inquiry to Action Group (ItAG): ItAG Kickoff on Feb 16th http://tagphilly.org/announcing-tags-2017-inquiry-to-action-groups/

  • Aquinas Center immigration related activities in January and February: A workshop in Bahasa Indonesia on ITIN renewals, a deportation defense training in Spanish, and an info session on a cross-cultural immersion trip to Mexico that will take place in May 2017. Contact Britt at Advocacy@staquinas.com for specific details.

  • Philadelphia Diversity Conference: May 13th at La Salle University
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