Townhall Conference at Hunter College

June 3rd, 2011
Luis R., walk

Speakers:

  • Senator Bill Perkins
  • Assemblyman Guillermo Linares
  • Robert Courtney Smith, Professor at Baruch College.
  • Dr. Juan J. DelaCruz,
  • Tania Mattos, NY State Youth Leadership Council
  • Dr. Alfonso Gonzales
  • Edson Flores, Walk member
  • Joel Magallan, Asociacion Tepeyac Executive Director

We gathered in support of the New York State Dream Act Legislation. The NY State Dream Act will allow undocumented young immigrants the opportunity at a legal path to residency providing they meet certain criteria. In order for a young immigrant to be eligible, he or she would be required to complete at least 2 years of a 4 year college program, or enlist the U.S. Army National Guard for a minimum of 2 years. In return, these determined young people would be eligible for federal financial aid, a drivers licence and heath insurance. We had several experts, including three academics and two student who will presented their arguments, opinions and expertise on this very important social topic. This enabled legislators to become more familiar with the bill and have a strong stance when convincing their peers of the importance of this act. Its important for us all to convey a consistent message when speaking about the Dream Act. The conferenced proved to be a fantastic learning experience for all. We learned so we can in turn, educate others about the fairness and equality issues surrounding this bill. We would also like to express our appreciation for all those who would not directly benefit from the passing of The Dream Act, but yet were still present showing their support for the young immigrants of New York. We sincerely thank you.

Senator Bill Perkins, a lifelong resident of Harlem, NY. was elected to the New York State Senate in November of 2006. Mr. Perkins represents the 30th District which represents Harlem, Washington Heights and the upper west side of Manhattan. Before becoming a senator, Bill Perkins started his career as a political activist.          Three months after the federal Dream Act was defeated in congress, Mr. Perkins introduced a New York State version of The Dream Act, a piece of legislation that would allow undocumented young immigrants the opportunity to attend college and begin the path to legal residency in the United States.

Mr. Guillermo Linares, the first Dominican-born to be elected to public office,  he was elected to the NY State Assembly in November 2010. Mr. Linares is a co-sponsor of the New York State Dream Act Bill.

Edson Hector Flores was born in Portland, Oregon. to a psychologist mother and an economist father. At age 8 his family moved to the colorful Mexico City. Edson is member of the National Society of High School Scholars and is Currently enrolled in the Macaulay Honors program at Baruch College, Edson is a volunteer at Asociacion Tepeyac de New York and a member of the WALK youth leadership program, being its purpose to get young people involved in their community and motivate them to pursue a higher education. Edson joined the movement to support the Dream Act ever since he got to New York City and in his own words “I have had a growing interest in migration as an ever present social phenomenon at a global scale.”

Tania Mattos was born in Bolivia and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens.   from the age of 4.     Ms. Mattos has conducted research on the life of undocumented Latinas living in New Orleans and co-founded “People for the Gulf”, a community outreach program. Tania has since worked on various campaigns with Mayor Bloomberg, the UN and the NY State Youth Leadership Council. An undocumented college graduate herself, Tania is the legislative coordinator for the New York State Dream Act.

Robert Courtney Smith, Profesor at Baruch College. is the author of the recently released, Mexican New York: Transnational Worlds of New Immigrants. He has also published many articles and book chapters on immigration and children of immigrants, education, transnational life, and Mexico.  He is also a co-founder of the Mexican Educational Foundation of New York.

Dr. Juan J. DelaCruz earned a PhD in economics from The New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the National Autonomous of Mexico University. As a researcher, Dr. DelaCruz has devoted his time towards helping to enhance the lives of students who may be disadvantaged due to social or cultural barriers. He has made huge contributions in the research of HIV/AIDS and its effect on social economics. Dr. DelaCruz has been published in several journals and is considered an expert in his field and an advocate to underpriviledged students.

Dr. Alfonso Gonzales holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University  Dr. Gonzales’s scholarly interests focus on Latino and Latin American politics, migration control, deportation, human rights, transnational gangs, and migrant social movements in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. He is a published expert and has been consulted on federal immigration issues, particulary those concerning Mexicans and Central Americans seeking asylum within the US.

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