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& Customs Enforcement
Today 9 young people are languishing in a detention center in Arizona because they dared to demand a more just and inclusive policy of citizenship in the United States. It is the same demand that young people in the Civil Rights Movement made 50 years ago when they pressed southern leaders to include African Americans in the rights and obligations of citizenship. The arguments for exclusion and discrimination, then and now, dehumanize and denigrate those being excluded. In 1960 the flawed arguments were that Blacks should not vote because they were not “educated” enough, not “respectable” enough, or simply not “American” enough. Today, young people who may have spent a few months or a few years in their birth country but who have grown up, gone to school, and worked in the United States for 15 or 20 years, are deemed “outsiders.” This may be the law but it is also wrong and unjust. For this reason, we stand with the Dream 9 who have been jailed because of their struggle on behalf of human rights and citizenship rights for immigrants. As University of Illinois at Chicago Professors and Administrators, we are invested in the lives and well being of young people. It is our life’s work. We offer them intellectual guidance in the classroom but they mean more to us than that. They are the ones whose skills, values, and actions will determine the future of this country and the world. So, we are deeply troubled when idealistic and principled young people are punished for acting on behalf of social justice. We are even more upset and outraged when those young people are our own students. Lulu Martinez is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Like all of our students, she is talented and hard working, and deserves a bright future. She is also a young person who stands on the courage of her convictions. We respect her for that. In courses on women’s rights, Latino history, and the Civil Rights Movement, Lulu read about the individuals who many politicians pay homage to today: Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Addams, and Cesar Chavez. So, how is it that we praise King, Addams and Chavez and we incarcerate Martinez? The youth leaders of the immigrant rights movement are acting in a venerable tradition. They are serving as the conscience of a nation, reminding us of the dangers of exclusive and elitist definitions of who belongs and who does not. Lulu Martinez is an exemplary student and young leader. She was born in Mexico and came to the United States at age of three. In addition to extensive volunteer work in community based organizations such as the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance, and the Immigrant Youth Justice League, two grassroots advocacy groups, Lulu has also worked as a radio producer, workshop leader, and outreach coordinator since 2009. She has lent her efforts to the cause of immigration rights but also to campaigns for women, LGBTQ people and low-wage workers. Her leadership, activism and community service
have earned her a number of honors and recognitions, including: The Amigas Latinas Scholarship Award for contributions to LGBTQ communities; The Davis Putter Award for youth leadership; and the Windy City Times’ 30 Under 30 Award for young people contributing to LGBT communities in Chicago. Lulu’s young life has been one of sacrifice for community, reflection and commitment to justice, and courage in difficult situations. She is a beloved daughter, valued student and trusted friend. We want her back in Chicago. Most responsible adults are worried about the future, about what lessons we are teaching, and about the legacy we are leaving for the next generation. We have far too many of our young people trapped in the criminal and juvenile justice system. We need them in our classrooms and in leadership roles in our communities and institutions. It does not make any sense to continue detaining and deporting the future of our country, especially at a time when there is overwhelming consensus across country that our immigration system is broken and unjust. For all of these reasons we demand the release of Lulu Martinez and her fellow activists. We demand the immediate release of the Dream 9.
Barbara Ransby, Professor, History and Gender & Women’s Studies Sixty-Three Additional Faculty and Administrative Staff Signed-On to This Letter: Luz Acosta, Research Program Coordinator, Inter-University Program for Latino Research Aixa Alfonso, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences Salome Aguilera Skvirsky, Assistant Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies Jennifer Ashton, Associate Professor, English Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies Natasha Barnes, Associate Professor, English and African American Studies Michelle Boyd, Associate Professor, African American Studies Christopher Boyer, Associate Professor, History and Latin American & Latino Studies Jennie Brier, Associate Professor and Director, Gender & Women’s Studies Simone Judith Buechler, Assistant Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies Rosa Cabrera, Director, Rafael Cintron-Ortiz Latino Cultural Center Mark Canuel, Professor, English Megan Carney, Director, Gender and Sexuality Center Mark Chiang, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies and English Theresa Christenson-Caballero, Assistant Director, Graduate Student Outreach and Development, Graduate College
Ralph Cintron, Associate Professor, English and Latin American & Latino Studies Andy Clarno, Assistant Professor, Sociology and African American Studies Sharon Collins, Associate Professor, Sociology Jonathan Daly, Professor, History Claire Decoteau, Assistant Professor, Sociology Madhu Dubey, Professor, English and African American Studies John D’Emilio, Professor, History and Gender & Women’s Studies Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, Associate Professor, Sociology and Latin American & Latino Studies Leon Fink, Distinguished Professor, History Lunaire Ford, Executive Director, Graduate Diversity and Outreach Initiatives, Graduate College Lisa Frohmann, Associate Professor and Interim Department Head, Criminology, Law and Justice Rebecca E. Gordon, Women’s Leadership and Resource Center Anna Guevarra, Associate Professor and Director, Asian American Studies Elena Gutierrez, Associate Professor, Gender & Women’s Studies and Latin American & Latino Studies Eric (Rico) Gutstein, Professor, Curriculum and Development, College of Education John Hagedorn, Professor, Criminology, Law and Justice Sara Hall, Associate Professor, Germanic Studies Helen Heran Jun, Associate Professor, English and African American Studies Melissa Hernandez, Academic Advisor, Office of Student Affair, College of Medicine Michele Kelley, Associate Professor, Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health Cedric Johnson, Associate Professor, African American Studies and Political Science Lisa Lee, Associate Professor, Art History; Director, School of Art & Design and Art History Pauline Lipman, Professor, Educational Policy Studies, College of Education Patrisia Masias, Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Alicia K. Matthews, Associate Professor, College of Nursing Ellen McClure, Associate Professor and Department Head, French and Francophone Studies Walter Benn Michaels, Professor and Department Head, English Zitlali Morales, Assistant Professor, College of Education Teresa Helena Moreno, Assistant Director, African American Studies Norma Claire Moruzzi, Associate Professor, Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies; Director, International Studies Sekile Nzinga-Johnson, Assistant Professor, Gender & Women’s Studies Irma Olmedo, Associate Professor, Emerita, College of Education
Joel Palka, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Latin American & Latino Studies Amalia Pallares, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies and Political Science Beth Powers, Director, Office of Special Scholarship Programs Pamela Anne Quiroz, Professor, Sociology and Educational Policy Studies Josh Radinsky, Professor, Curriculum Studies and the Learning Sciences Arthi Rao, Clinical Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Instruction and Urban Education/Elementary Education Gayatri Reddy, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Gender & Women’s Studies; Coordinator, Asian Studies Beth Richie, Professor, Criminal Justice and Gender & Women’s Studies; Director, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Barbara Risman, Professor and Department Head, Sociology Susanne Rott, Associate Professor, Germanic Studies and Linguistics Cristian Roa, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies Margarita Saona, Associate Professor, Hispanic and Italian Studies Karen Su, Clinical Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies Maria de los Angeles Torres, Professor and Director, Latin American & Latino Studies Javier Villa-Flores, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies Stephen Warner, Professor Emeritus, Sociology
cc: Senator Richard Durbin cc: Congressman Danny Davis
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