This event has been cancelled due to a family emergency. If we are able to reschedule, we will let you know. Apologies for any inconvenience.
- Ajamu Dillahunt, Joseph Jordan and Dani Moore
RSVP here or on Facebook, so we can plan interpretation, childcare, refreshments and help with transportation.
As you know, anti-immigrant hysteria, racism, and repression has increased to dangerous and frightening levels over the past several years. Immigrant communities in Arizona, Texas, Alabama and Georgia have already been criminalized and victimized by new draconian and restrictive laws that are designed to stigmatize, traumatize and marginalize individuals and families regardless of their immigration status. The communities that are most vulnerable and victimized under these McCarthyite tactics are largely from Mexico and other nations in Central America. Despite these overwhelming odds these communities are fighting back, even as their families are being attacked, harassed and forced to respond to summary justice at the hands of over-zealous law enforcement agents, backed by hastily enacted legislation.
In Georgia, one casualty of the most recent right-wing push for anti-immigrant legislation is access to higher education. Following a concerted and well-financed campaign by right-wingers/Tea Party folks, young people from immigrant families are being excluded from the state’s universities, and 4 and 2 year colleges.
Freedom University, founded in 2011, is a people’s response to these injustices (www.freedomuniversitygeorgia.org
). Freedom University is a volunteer-driven organization that provides college-level instruction to all academically qualified students regardless of their immigration status. Freedom University faculty provides their students with college courses equivalent to those taught at the state’s most selective universities.
Founding faculty members Lorgia Garcia-Peña, Betina Kaplan, Bethany Moreton, and Pamela Voekel, believe that all Georgians have an equal right to a quality education and that unequal access to higher education contravenes this country’s most cherished principles of equality and justice for all. The concept of Freedom Schools is not new, and the example of the Mississippi Freedom Schools that emerged in the 1960’s in response to the denial of basic education to Black communities there stands out. The Georgia Freedom University project certainly provides a new foundation and context for our understanding the ways immigrant communities have been able to respond to the attacks on their lives by anti-immigrant legislation.
In solidarity with the Freedom University staff and its students, we will hold a community teach-in and fundraiser on Saturday, 3 December, from 3- 6:30 pm at NC Central University’s Farrison-Newton Communications Building, at the corner of Lawson & Fayetteville Streets in Durham, NC.
Lorgia Garcia Peña of Freedom University, along with a few of her students, will come to the Triangle to talk with us about the school, and its efforts to bridge the gap in educational opportunity created by the Georgia legislature’s unjust and unfair rules on University access. Refreshments will be served, and Spanish translation will be provided along with child care.
During the teach-in Lorgia and her students will talk about the legal and other issues that were most important in the debate on immigrants. They will then spend the rest of the teach-in engaged in a conversation with the audience on the process of organizing and creating FreedomU., the principles and mission that provide direction for its work, and the ways communities have been involved in supporting this important new people’s initiative. They will go over the background of the FreedomUniversity initiative within the wider struggle against anti-immigrant legislation and repression.
You can help with this solidarity effort by:
(1) Signing on as a co-sponsor/supporter of the teach-in and by helping to underwrite the expenses associated with bringing Lorgia and her students to speak with us. You may sign on as an organization or, if you prefer as an individual. Any donation you give will be used to pay for hotel, gas reimbursement and food for the FreedomU. folks, and for costs associated with translation and refreshments.
(2) You can pass the word on to your network about this event and help identify folks that should attend this event.
(3) Volunteer to help with the actual program on the 3rd of December.
(4) Donate and encourage others to donate to directly support the FreedomU. project.
If you have questions, or are willing to sign-on and help with this event, please contact any one of the following contact persons of the organizing group: