In the wake of President Trump’s decision earlier this week to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for young undocumented immigrants, the Oakland Unified School District is holding an event on Saturday, Sept. 9 in support of immigrant students and their families. The event, Bringing Sanctuary to the Classroom, will feature more than 350 Oakland educators, and it’s scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Oakland Museum of California. OUSD is a sanctuary district that refuses to cooperate with federal anti-immigration efforts.
Oakland-based artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez will be the keynote speaker at the event. Rodriguez, a transnational interdisciplinary artist, focuses on using art and education to inspire social change. With an emphasis on migrant rights, Rodriguez actively works to turn art into activism for the migrant community, as well as more deeply articulate the immigrant experience artistically and in classrooms throughout the country. On Saturday, Rodriguez will utilize her expertise facilitating six workshops that will devise ways to create safe, culturally responsive learning spaces, and build community in Oakland’s schools.
Nicole Knight, head of the OUSD Sanctuary District Task Force, said the event is intended to “confront anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, racially-motivated violence, and threats to the safety and unity of our families.
“Together, we will strengthen our movement of courageous educators who are prepared to stand up for our families and empower our students,” Knight continued.
Hundreds of undocumented, newcomer, and refugee students are currently thriving in OUSD schools, aided by entities such as the Office of English Language Learners and Multilingual Achievement.