The Benefits of Coming Out- Together

UCLA has a reputation for producing proud, enthusiastic DREAMers.  They’ve even got their own page at DREAMActivist for sharing their incredible stories.

Their enthusiasm has created many willing allies among not only other students but administrators as well, allies who are sensitive to the needs and challenges facing undocumented students.  Read about what they have created:

-This year, with the opening of the Bruin Resource Center, different populations on campus have received helpful additional support- including AB540 undocumented students.  It’s a pretty big university, and navigating the system can be difficult, so the Bruin Resource Center provides information, referrals, and specialized services and programs to address the concerns and needs of AB540 undocumented students.  The motivation behind the BRC? According to Yanina Montero, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the ultimate objective is to help all students stay in school and succeed.  Sounds like a plan!

-It gets better.  All the aspiring nurses, doctors, biologists, and biotechnologists who happen to be DREAMers (like Tiffany, Benita, Mike, Ashley, and Mamadou) can get the experience they need at UCLA’s world class, totally-famous-because-celebrities-go-there Medical Center.  Until February of 2010, the Medical Center required that volunteers show a U.S. government-issued identification to obtain a background check.  However, undocumented students at UCLA, with the support of the Bruin Resource Center, reached out to the Medical Center and got some serious results: the Medical Center now accepts from its volunteers government identification issued by any country.

-When 32% fee increases make it harder to afford, well, everything (especially when AB540 students don’t qualify for financial aid), there are resources that undocumented students and their allies created at UCLA.  Check out the Food Bank– a resource for anybody who needs it.  Not everybody can afford living close to campus, so during stressful times like midterms and finals, AB540 students can use the Crash Catalog, coordinated internally by IDEAS at UCLA, to find a trusted person willing to lend a couch.

-And finally, students at UCLA collaborated with the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education to collect and tell their stories in Underground Undergrads, a book that serves to feature not only the stories of eight UCLA DREAMers, but organizations that serve as resources for undocumented students, the history of relevant legislation, and the growing movement organizing around these issues.

Posted with many thanks to proud Bruin Marilyn Corrales.

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