How should immigrants and refugees be welcomed when they enter a new country? How do we create laws that reflect an inclusive society?
In this project, students learned about how policies at the local level can make a city a more or less welcoming place for immigrants and refugees. They researched the journeys and challenges that face immigrants and refugees as they enter a new country. Students studied the difference between local, state, and federal government, and their scope of power. They also studied recommendations for better policies that originated from the Welcoming SD Report. They read and listened to immigrants and refugees and spoke to stakeholders in the community. Students also studied the history of borders and immigration in order to fully understand the past, present, and future of immigration in their community and country. Finally, students wrote professional policy memos and speeches which they presented to one of four governing bodies: the San Diego City Council, the Chula Vista City Council, the High Tech High School Board, or the Sweetwater Unified School Board. By forming an opinion on human rights, and acting upon that opinion students lived out the democratic ideals of our country while improving the overall condition of our community.
During this project, students were all a paired with a mentor from the community. These advocates work to improve their community every day by focusing on issues such as immigration, criminal justice, and more. Advocates met with their mentee students twice over the course of the project to critique policy memos and speeches.Thank you to the following mentors for volunteering your time!
Itzel Guillen, Alliance SD
Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, Alliance SD
Councilman Mike Diaz, City of Chula Vista
Pedro Rios, American Friends Service Committee
Paola Martinez-Montes, ACCE Action
Margaret Baker, South Bay People Power
Nancy Sandweiss, South Bay People Power
Jason Bercovitch, Congressman Scott Peters
Paola Guzman, Congressman Juan Vargas
Jessica Mier, Congresswoman Susan Davis
Maya Srikrishnan, Voice of San Diego
Kylee Hoynack, Institute for Public Strategies
Stelle Andrade, Institute for Public Strategies
Meredith Gibson, Institute for Public Strategies
Gerrlyn Gacao, ACLU
Dalia Gonzalez, Chula Vista Human Relations Committee
Jim Scofield, South Bay People Power