Laura Emiko Soltis gives a presentation about Freedom University at the Charles E Young Research Library in October. Freedom University, an undocumented student advocacy school in Atlanta, visited UCLA to discuss their efforts and the future of the undocumented student movement in the country. Effecting Change
Healy Ko is the Organizing Director at the Korean Resource Center in Downtown Los Angeles. KRC provides services to the Korean undocumented and immigrant community in Los Angeles, disseminating news about services through Korean-language newspapers. In May, Ko attended the University of California Summit on Undocumented Students, where she participated in discussions on how the University could improve its services for undocumented students.
Freedom university students
Freedom University students Arizbeth Sanchez (left) and Ashley Rivas-Triana spoke at UCLA and several other universities on the west coast, spreading the word about the ban that keeps them out of college.
Laura Emiko Soltis
Laura Emiko Soltis is the director of Freedom University, an Atlanta based advocacy school that supports undocumented students in their desire to pursue higher education. Based on the Freedom schools from the civil rights era, the organization focuses primarily on community outreach and developing tools for further activism. The school relies on volunteer teachers to assist students with college preparedness, argumentation, and self-empowerment.
Karyl Davis is a volunteer and teacher at Freedom University in Atlanta. After graduating from the University of Alabama law school, Davis practiced employment law, primarily focusing on discrimination lawsuits before eventually shifting focus and opening her own business. Currently, she serves as the executive director of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.
Freedom at Emory
Lamija Grbic (center, left) and other members of Freedom at Emory gather outside the Dobbs University Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. While none of the members themselves are undocumented, the group advocates on behalf of those that are. Recently, they were a part of the push to secure financial aid for undocumented students at Emory.
Matt Hicks is a teacher, organizer and volunteer at U-LEAD, a tutoring organization that assists low-income and undocumented students near the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Hicks' involvement with this issue was catalyzed by one of his students years ago, who was on the fast track to college when she suddenly found out she was undocumented.
Every night, Hicks says a personal goodbye to every U-LEAD student. That night, he prepared cards for students to hand out.
Jennifer Veliz meets with an adviser at U-LEAD, a tutoring organization that assists low-income and undocumented students near the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. The nonprofit operates out of a tiny church on a side road near the University, and relies on donations, fundraisers, and government grants to continue their operations. Over the years, the service has expanded to include students from schools outside of Athens as well.
Zulley Huaman gets academic help at U-LEAD. Huaman was 4 when her mother was detained by immigration authorities. After visiting her mother in the detention center, Huaman's grandmother, her guardian at the time, was also detained. Though an American citizen, she spent the latter half of her childhood and early adolescence in Peru, before returning to graduate from an American high school. She hopes to attend a four-year university.