This week, Associated Students (AS) is hosting “Advocacy Week” in the quad to bring forth awareness and resources to the issues PCC students face on a daily basis.
“AS felt it was important to put on the Advocacy Week because basically one of our main objectives is to be the liaison and the voice between students and faculty,” AS President Kiely Lam said.
Although its main focus will be on undocumented students, all students and faculty are welcome to attend as there will be other informational booths and workshops as well. Resources such as PCC’s Dreamkeepers, a program which helps students in financial crises that threaten their ability to stay in college, and PCC’s personal counseling services will be present.
PCC’s Director of Student Equity, Dr. Michaela J.L Mares-Tamayo, stated Advocacy Week will give students information and opportunities to learn about the pressing issues in our community.
“We see a need for different kinds of supports and resources and don’t always have an outlet,” Tamayo said. “Whether it’s mental health or for undocumented students and how to build awareness around those members of our community.”
Throughout Advocacy Week, there will be informational booths in the quad by a variety of individuals and organizations.
Angeline Chen, one of the lawyers who came on campus when Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was first terminated, will return to offer her services to students.
Personal Counseling, EOP&S, United Without Boundaries and Dreamkeepers coordinator Carol Brown will also have booths.
Additionally, Safe Zones, a support program for LGBTQA and undocumented students, will be selling T-shirts to help raise money for scholarships for undocumented students.
Tuesday will be workshop day. According to Lam, there will be a workshop on how to build a resume. Its purpose is to help undocumented students, who are unable to apply for financial aid, submit resumes for scholarships.
Assistance with AB 540 will be available as well. AB 540 is a California Education Code that allows undocumented students who’ve attended high school for three or more years and earned their diploma or equivalent to be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at California public universities.
Advocacy Week will conclude with a student rally on Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in front of the school by the mirror pools.
The rally will take place in front of the school on a busy street to show the community’s engagement and the advocacy and fight for student’s rights.
“When you picture a rally, you think of a protest,” Lam said. “But this is more of a time where students, [whether it be] people of color or of different backgrounds, will come together and empower each other.”
AS Executive Vice President Christopher Morales’ idea is to cover huge white boards with butcher paper and put headers to demonstrate the barriers that minorities and people of the LGBTQA community face.
The plan is to have students write their experiences, stories or barriers on sticky notes and post them below the appropriate header. For example, one might say, “I am a person of color and these are my obstacles.”
Associated Students also wants to have some faculty and staff members speak during the rally to show that there are people on campus that support these different communities.
Following the rally, AS is collaborating with “Coffee Nights” to hold a social event that’ll allow students and faculty to get together and engage with one another. An educational Jeopardy game that will focus on facts and details about DACA and how to become a citizen will be played for prizes.
Lam expressed that certain situations in the past would get submitted for a resolution and nothing would come out of it, so AS wants to be more hands-on and take action. Lam feels that Advocacy Week would be a great way to start that.
Associated Students wants to begin holding advocacy weeks at least once a semester, each pertaining to different issues on campus.
“I want us all to remember that despite our unique barriers we’re still here for the same purpose and that is to become educated, get a degree and contribute to society,” Morales said.
Show your support and join Associated Students in the quad next week, November 13 through 16, for a united gathering for PCC students affected by DACA.