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Educators Protest Scholarship's Discriminatory Policy

by Association of Raza Educators Friday, Nov. 28, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Over 100 teachers and students protest in front of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Headquarters demanding they halt their discriminatory policy barring undocumented students from applying to their scholarship

Educators Protest Sc...
hsf_hq_protest_reporte.jpg, image/jpeg, 800x621

Nov. 20th 2008

San Francisco, CA - Over one hundred parents, teachers and students gathered in front of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) National Headquarters to protest their discriminatory policy barring undocumented students from applying for their scholarships.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the largest provider of scholarships for Hispanic Students. HSF has granted over $250 million in scholarships for Latinos nationwide.

The Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E.) of Oakland and Los Angeles organized this protest to expose the contradiction of HSF purporting to service all Hispanics while denying undocumented students from applying. Also at the protest were Teachers 4 Social Justice, Latin American Teachers Association, H.O.M.E.Y (Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth) and Union del Barrio.

Protesters sounded their chants of, “Education for all” and “Somos un pueblo, sin frontreas (We are a community without borders)” to underscore the importance of education and a united community. Students and teachers formed a picket line in front of the building.

Earlier that day, A.R.E. Co-Chairs Jose Lara and Eilene Cruz held a meeting with HSF Public Relations Officer Chino Chapa. During the meeting Chapa reiterated the mission of HSF, providing educational advancement for “Hispanic Americans.” A.R.E. asserted the importance of also providing scholarship opportunities to the neediest in the Hispanic community, undocumented students.

Chapa’s response denied the dire circumstances of undocumented students with one statement, “That’s your opinion.”

According to Chapa, undocumented students are not the neediest, nor are they the “safer bet” for providing scholarships. For Chapa, the “safer bet” is the “Hispanic American” student because they are more likely to complete their college education given their access to financial aid and employment.

What Chapa and his colleagues at HSF fail to recognize is the tenacity and commitment of undocumented students to their education. This population contains some of our nation’s most high achieving students, including honor roll awardees and high school valedictorians.

According to A.R.E., the “safer bet” rhetoric of HSF has made it apparent that this “charitable” organization has turned its back against the undocumented student segment of the Latino community which is indeed the neediest. Rather than helping undocumented students overcome their financial barriers to higher education, the HSF betrays Latino students by using their unfortunate circumstances against them. To this extent, HSF creates insurmountable obstacles for its own community.

Moreover, while Chapa and the HSF reiterate risks and limited resources for its existing awardees, undocumented students sit on the side lines watching their dreams evaporate. Resources will always be limited. The fact remains; we cannot continue to discount an academically strong and educationally committed portion of our population because the rest of America has. We must support all students in our community.

The meeting ended without agreement.

As darkness fell, the protest slowly came to an end with protesters agreeing to continue the campaign and one student wondering, “Why is HSF acting like the pinche Mirga (Immigration Officials)?” The protest ended without incident.

For more information on The Association of Raza Educators please visit: www.razaeducators.org

For more information about the HSF Campaign or to sign the petition online to support the campaign to open ALL HSF scholarships to undocumented students, visit : www.OpenHSF.com

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Youth Protesting HSF

by Association of Raza Educators Friday, Nov. 28, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Youth Protesting HSF...
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Chino Chapa Public Relations Officer for HSF

by Association of Raza Educators Friday, Nov. 28, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Chino Chapa Public R...
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