BeVisible’s #BeWokeSF event

 

On May 17th, Silicon Valley Latino – Cultura Ambassador, Andrea Guendelman and her team at BeVisible led an unprecedented event in the Bay Area, #BeWokeSF.  The purpose and message of the event were clear challenging Silicon Valley: it is not enough to just hit certain diversity numbers. Companies must be intentional about going further than simply inclusion. They need to move towards developing a sense of belonging that leads to retention and productivity. As Andrea, co-founder of Be Visible and the event’s organizer, shared in her opening remarks, “Belonging is what we should be talking about all the time.”

#BeWokeSF, a next-gen career networking event, brought together over 500 underrepresented professionals to the Pearl in San Francisco to push the diversity and inclusion topic forward. The event was filled with razor-sharp conversations that included the power of female networks particularly in the era of #MeToo, equal pay, activism and multiculturalism in tech, and even the new frontier of dating apps.

Unique to the event was the incredibly diverse array of speakers and luminaries from Thaddeus Arroyo – CEO at AT&T Business to Beatriz Acevedo – co-founder and President at Mitú to Jesse Martinez founder at CareerForce to Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca founder & CEO at DREAMers RoadMap to 
our very own, Silicon Valley Latino, founder & CEO, Alex Ontiveros. The rather long list of equally engaged forward-thinking organizations included Pathbrite, AT&T, Airbnb, Mitú, Backstage Capital, Tinder and Lucasfilm who spoke to a similarly diverse audience. For many, it was an important and one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect directly with others who shared their experience, insights, and expertise. “It means a lot to me to be invited to speak here today because this is really the first opportunity for me to speak to an audience who may be interested in not only my perspective of working in the entertainment industry for 20 years but as a woman working in the entertainment industry, as a woman of color working in the entertainment industry, and as a woman of color who is a first generation child of immigrant parents,” shared Keynote Speaker Julie Peng, Senior Manager of Talent & Production, ILMXLAB at Lucasfilm.

With electrifying energy, the conversations evolved through a series of short discussions that packed personal stories, data, and solutions. The general message: employers in this country need to move beyond the diversity index data to develop an organizational culture that makes the underrepresented talent community feel welcomed without feeling tokenized. A creative use and synergy of culture, lifestyle, tech, and storytelling offer a direct pathway to that.

“The days of talking about diversity are long gone. It’s time to act and that entails taking courageous and untraditional stances. As underrepresented minorities we don’t connect to a ‘thing’ an‘ethereal thing’. We connect to people, so companies need to start betting on diverse leadership and putting diverse leadership forward; it will change things,” said, Andrea Guendelman, the Harvard-educated Latinx entrepreneur. “At the same time, women, people of color, the LGBTQ community–we need to take our place as owners of this country and stop asking for permission to belong. As my friend Ana Flores from #WeAllGrow said, don’t just get a seat at the table. Build your own table and create your own room,” she added.

 

Guendelman created the career platform after experiencing first hand the difficulties of making it in the workplace without the necessary support networks and mentors. The platform was born in 2014 to help Latinx millennials and Gen Zers connect with the innovative mentors and leaders needed to increase diversity and inclusion in the business world. Today, BeVisible, through #BeWokeSF, is taking a stance for women, people of color, LGTBQ, and non-gender binary individuals. Among the corporate partners were Google, YouTube, Disney, Tinder, Spotify, Airbnb, Adobe, Charles Schwab, Williams Sonoma.

“Participating in BeVisibile’s inaugural conference helped us connect with the talented community in the Bay Area while facilitating important, candid discussions about inclusion, representation, and mentorship,” said Lina Alcala, VP of HR at Tinder. “Engaging in these conversations is important to us as a global company, and crucial in effecting positive change across industries.”

 

Beyond the discussions, guests participated in an intimate and immersive experience where they connected and built a community committed to fostering a more inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of America.

The program closed with an epic party that paid homage to diversity and multiculturalism. Performances from Smoked Out Soul, Deuce Eclipse of Bang Data, Afrolicious, DJ Umami, the exquisite rapper Aima the Dreamer, DJ Icon with a Silent Disco, and other installations kept the crowd going. BeVisible is just getting started and have big plans for more dynamic #BeWoke events in the near future.

 

Andrea, we look forward to your next event and continuing to support the work that you and your team lead in this space.
#CreoEnTi
(We are finalizing an event recap video, in the meantime please enjoy this event slideshow.)

 

 

Inspire Higher Panel featuring SHPE-SV members!

 

 

On April 7th Silicon Valley Latino held a very special Inspire Higher Panel featuring members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Silicon Valley (SHPE-SV)

The Panel consisted of Roxana Ruvalcaba, Operations Finance at Intel Corporation, Mario Rincon, Senior Software Engineer formerly at Linkedin, Consuelo Cervantes, Senior Human Resources Manager with Intel Corporation and Lemuel Lebron a Silicon Architecture Engineer at Intel Corporation.

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1974 by a group of engineers employed by the city of Los Angeles. Their objective was to form a national organization of professional engineers to serve as role models in the Hispanic community.

The concept of Networking was the key basis for the organization. SHPE quickly established two student chapters to begin the network that would grow to encompass the nation as well as reach countries outside the United States. Today, SHPE enjoys a strong but independent network of professional and student chapters throughout the nation. SHPE has been a long-time friend of Silicon Valley Latino with many shared members. We are certainly thrilled to be collaborating with this stellar organization. These professionals took time out of their busy schedule to spend time with students and community leaders at San Jose City College Milpitas Extension.  A special shout out to Adriana Fuentes President of SHPE-SV for helping coordinate this special event.

The panel shared their incredible stories of achievement and perseverance to a very captive audience. We are proud to share their stories here…

Originally from LA, Roxana Ruvacalba went to UC Berkeley to study Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. While at Berkeley, she had two summer internships at Toyota where she learned about the Toyota Production System and continuous improvement. Once she graduated, she joined PG&E through a rotational program where she worked on various projects including creation and implementation of new policy. After completing the rotational program, Roxana joined the renewable energy team negotiating contracts.

Four years into her career, she decided to go back to school to complete an MBA at UCLA Anderson. While at Anderson, she interned at Google in Finance Operations working on the renegotiation strategy for their outsourcing contracts. Upon graduation, she joined Intel through the finance rotational program. She is currently in Operations Finance at Intel.

Roxana is one of four siblings. Family support and a strong network of friends has been essential to her both professionally and personally.

Mario Rincón was born and raised in Santa Marta, Colombia. He is the first in his family to earn a college degree. Mario graduated from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá with a B.S. in Computer and Systems Engineering. After working for the Central Bank of Colombia, he earned a scholarship to pursue graduate school in the U.S. at Carnegie Mellon University where he graduated with a Master’s degree in Information Security. Since then, Mario has worked in different areas of software engineering and software development in Silicon Valley for Cisco, Ooyala, and LinkedIn. Mario is also a husband and father, and an active member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). In his free time, he enjoys writing, playing the guitar, and memorizing poetry. As a first-generation college student and Latino software engineer, he likes to share his journey to inspire others to pursue higher education and careers in software development.

Consuelo Cervantes is currently a senior HR Manager at Intel, supporting the data center sales team. She has over 15 years of deep HR experience managing talent, succession planning, total compensation, resource planning, organization design, driving culture change and building leadership teams across industries and geographies. She has global experience managing business groups and teams based in Latin America, Europe and Asia. She has led and managed through several mergers and acquisitions at Cargill, 3M and Intel. Consuelo holds a Master’s degree in HR and Change Leadership from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis MN and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from DePaul University, Chicago. She is multilingual, fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch. Consuelo was born in Mexico and raised in Chicago. She currently lives with her family in San Jose, CA.

Lemuel Lebron is a first-generation Latino, born and raised in New Jersey to Puerto Rican and Dominican parents. He currently works at Intel as a System-on-Chip Validation Engineer designing the intellectual property for next-generation processors targeting the data center and high-end computing market segments. Lemuel received his Bachelors in Computer Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2011 just before relocating to the Silicon Valley to start his career. Lemuel uses his expertise in technology to give back to the community through mentorship, leadership coaching, and contributing to pro-bono web-development projects for non-profit organizations such as SHPE, Braven, and LSU. Currently, he is exploring new interests in machine learning and looking for ways to apply them in the hardware development space.

All four panelists shared the moments they drew inspiration from that one mentor who guided them in their professional careers.  One highlight being how eloquently Mario Rincón shared his fear of his first few months in the U.S.  A time filled with uncertainty and challenges. A time he sought solace in the software programming he so passionately loved. Throwing himself head-long into a language he felt universal and spoke to him, when few around him could due to language barriers. Driven by dreams, he turned hope into action in a land very far from home.

We identified with Roxana’s story of parents who put all their hopes and dreams into their children and raising them with strong civic approach in a safe, supportive home. While her parents worked long hours to provide the tools she needed. Overcoming obstacles that could have easily made them feel like giving up. They didn’t. Roxana never did…it shows.

Consuelo Cervantes’ carries a force within her that is undeniable. Failure was never an option for her. A strong work ethics and never depending on anyone but herself makes Consuelo a fierce Latina for her generation. Truly a role model for the young Latinas in the attendance that day.

Lemuel Lebron has been a long time SVL Cultura Ambassador, giving tirelessly of his talents to the youth of our community. His energy is infectious and we are always genuinely warmed by Lemuel’s effortless way of connecting with young people. Well, we must say, he’s done a lot in his young career. Doesn’t hurt that he still looks 19. Such a fresh face in the tech landscape.

All our participants took time to meet and greet with our audience and, as in the past, the post panel discussion became a friendly networking moment. Smiles shared, cards exchanged. New stories blossoming as our audience grows at Silicon Valley Latino.

 

#CreoEnTi

 

SVL 2nd Annual College Declaration Day!

 

We are reaching to announce our 2nd Annual College Declaration Day!

This event-series was inspired by the press conferences held for stellar high school football players as they announce which college they’ve elected to attend.

Ours, however, are academically focused and we feature several students from various schools (as opposed to one) who have been accepted to and will be attending a notable university in the fall.

At this time, we ask you to participate in our process by nominating a stellar Latino student from the South Bay and by attending our 2nd Annual College Declaration Day the afternoon of June 30th.

Students may also self-nominate by completing our Nomination Form. We are looking for students who have achieved academic success, have developed and demonstrated leadership skills and are well rounded.

Nomination deadline is June 6th at midnight.

Here’s a look at a College Declaration Day that we produced in collaboration with San Jose City College and The Foundation for Hispanic Education.

 

 

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

 

#CreoEnTi

College Declaration Day with The Foundation for Hispanic Education

 

On Friday April 27th The Foundation for Hispanic Education (TFHE), San Jose City College and Silicon Valley Latino presented the first College Declaration Day focused on TFHE schools, Latino College Preparatory Academy (LCPA) and Luis Valdez Leadership Academy (LVLA), where 23 seniors declared their college selections.

The College Declaration Day is an opportunity for students to announce their college choices in a format similar to Collegiate Declaration Days presented by sports network channels and popular on social media. Only this event celebrates academic achievement, not touchdowns. Unlike highly recruited Football players, these students have been accepted to notable universities on academic, civic merit and Ganas. It’s our mission at Silicon Valley Latino to ensure these academic honorees are celebrated by our local community through this special event and that they are featured through our various platforms so that our online community may also celebrate them and take pride in their achievements.

With destinations across the country ranging from The University of Pennsylvania to UCLA, from Duke University to UC Berkeley, students from Luis Valdez Leadership Academy and Latino College Preparatory Academy are embarking on the opportunities of a lifetime. Many of these students will be the first in their family to go to college and for them and their families this is truly a significant event as many of them could not imagine such a day four years ago at their middle school graduations.

Four years of effort and focused determination have led these students on this illustrious path. The joy and sense of achievement was palatable that evening.

Dry eyes? Not many. Master of Ceremonies Jeff Camarillo (LVLA) and Jesus Rios (LCPA) delivered such eloquent and memorable remarks on each recognized student. Sharing stories first hand of trials and tribulations, hope and encouragement, laughter and tears, but most of all joy. The pure joy of their realizing the passion of each student’s path. Basking in the celebration of this very important milestone in their own professional lives and the lives of the students they have grown to bond and love these past four years.

As each student addressed the audience, you could really feel the sense of pride shared with their friends, family and community who had gathered to share in this exciting event. Speeches delivered by students gave recognition to the people who had supported them on their journeys. Students gave thanks, but more importantly shared the promise of one day giving back, just as they have been given.

Here is the list of honorees that evening…

Latino College Preparatory Academy: Brian Guevara, Duke University. Dalliana Banuelos, Santa Clara University. Alicia Brady-Sabioncello, University of California, Santa Cruz. Hugo Ayala, University of California, Santa Barbara. Anahy Jimenez, University of California, Merced. Lucydania Robles, University of California, Berkeley. Angel Jauregui, Saint Mary ‘ s College of California. Briseyda Aguilar, University of California, Berkeley. Melanie Mireles, University of California, Berkeley. Jazmin Dominguez, University of California, San Diego. Cristina Martinez, University of California Merced. Yeimy Ventura, University of California Berkeley.

Luis Valdez Leadership Academy : Abisaid ‘Abby ‘ Esquivel, University of Pennsylvania. Angela Rascon, Saint Mary ‘ s College of California. Aylin Velazco, Bryn Mawr College. Roberto Alvarez, Sacramento State University. Cheyenne Ferranti, University of California, Los Angeles. Lesley Sanchez Garcia, University of California, Merced. Ivette Mondragon, University of California, Davis. Oscar Diaz, University of California, Merced. Andrew Garcia, California Baptist University. Emily Espino, UC Riverside.

¡Felicidades! to all the students who were honored that evening. Viva Class of 2018!

#CreoEnTi

3rd Annual Latino Education Summit

Greetings Cultura Ambassadors and friends,

We would like to invite you to attend The 3rd Annual Latino Education Summit: Silicon Valley scheduled for this Saturday, April 21st at Santa Clara University.

Featured speakers and presenters include Dr. Byron Clift Breland, SJCC President, Keith Aytch, Interim President at EVC, Roland Montemayor, VP of Academic and Student Affairs at SJCC, Felix W. Ortiz, CEO of Viridis Learning,  Dr. Fabio Gonzalez, District Academic Senate President, Jesus Covarrubias, Academic Senate President, and our very own Cultura Ambassador and Education Champion Jorge Escobar, VP of Administrative Services of San Jose City College.

The summit’s focus is on Language, Culture, and Identity in the Education of LatinX Students

Register via the link below:

Register

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

 

Latino Leaders Luncheon in Silicon Valley

 

Latino Leaders Network Honored Maria Echaveste and Convened Silicon Valley Leaders

On Wednesday, March 21st the Latino Leaders Network (LLN), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing leaders together, convened its 53rd Latino Leaders Luncheon Series event to honor Maria Echaveste with the Eagle Leadership Award. Nearly 300 local San Jose/Silicon Valley leaders were in attendance, including guest speakers Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose and Ron Gonzales, President, and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Maria Echaveste is the Policy and Program Development Director at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy. Echaveste joined University of California Berkeley School of Law as a Lecturer. She previously co-founded a strategic and policy consulting group, serving as a senior White House and U.S. Department of Labor official. From 1998 to 2001, she served as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. Among her responsibilities in this role was overseeing issues relating to Mexico and Latin America. She has worked as a community leader and corporate attorney. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Law School’s Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity.

“We were proud to honor Maria Echaveste with the Eagle Leadership Award for her outstanding service to our community,” said Mickey Ibarra, Founder, and Chairman of the Latino Leaders Network. “I was proud to work alongside Maria at The White House for President Clinton and the American people. Her powerful personal story inspires us to dream big, work hard, and lead by example.”

Mickey Ibarra, book co-editor, also introduced his new book featuring the powerful personal stories of national Latino leaders, Latino Leaders Speak: Personal Stories of Struggle and Triumph.

“Our Latino community has role models, inspiring heroes, and outstanding leaders,” said Mr. Ibarra. “Their stories need to be told. Readers of this book will be inspired to dream big, get prepared and get ready to lead.”

LLN’s luncheon community partner was the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Event sponsors included PG&E, PepsiCo, Southwest Airlines, Fernandez Government Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, and Google.

LLN hosts six annual events throughout the country honoring prominent Latino leaders. The book features 33 keynote addresses delivered at the Latino Leaders Luncheon Series by leaders from a wide variety of occupations, including government, sports, entertainment, education, journalism and more.

Silicon Valley Latino founder and CEO, Alex Ontiveros, was delighted to have been present for this special event as well as to see many SVL Cultura Ambassadors and SVL Honorees in attendance. We look forward to attending and supporting future Latino Leaders Network events in the future” said Ontiveros.

For more information about LLN and Latino Leaders Speak: Personal Stories of Struggle and Triumph, visit www.LatinoLeadersNetwork.org.

Fireside Chat with Cisco CIO Guillermo Diaz Jr.

 

On February 24th, Silicon Valley Latino through a strategic partnership with San Jose City College, Milpitas Extension was honored to host an intimate and insightful interview with Cisco Chief Information Officer, Guillermo Diaz Jr. This was the second Latino Leaders Fireside Chat in its series.

Guillermo Diaz, Jr., is the Chief Information Officer responsible for Cisco’s global Information Technology organization, along with its strategy and services. His focus is on driving the business outcomes critical to the secure digital transformation of Cisco, and its customers and partners. Together with his team, Guillermo is responsible for strengthening Cisco’s foundational business capabilities, enabling new business models, and building the digital skills and talent that the organization will need in the future IT.

Since joining the company in 2000, Guillermo has been a major driver in the development of Cisco’s world-class IT organization. He has led initiatives that transformed significant business foundations, from the Cisco IT Networked infrastructure to primary business IT application areas. These application areas include Cisco’s $45B+ electronic commerce, technical services, professional services, service sales and marketing, customer service, Cisco Capital, and cloud/SaaS platforms.

Among other endeavors, Diaz is the executive sponsor of Conexión, Cisco’s Hispanic/Latino employee resource network, and a key leader on Cisco’s Diversity Council. His relationship building talent is what led him down the path of success, a path he was thrilled to share with our community.

Attendees were riveted by Guillermo’s story. Raised in the gritty east side of Pueblo Colorado, the Diaz family faced challenges early on with the death of Guillermo’s father at the age of 1 ½.  Diaz sites his mother as his hero in a town known as the “City of Heroes” due to the unusually large rate of Military icons born and raised in Pueblo. The hard work and determination of his mother coupled with the vision and encouragement of his grandmother guided “G” to excel in Martial Arts where he became a national champion in his division at the age of 14.  That same Diaz determination inspired Guillermo to enlist in the Navy with plans to leverage the GI Bill towards a college education. Through his mother’s guidance Diaz signed-up for the the Navy’s telecommunication networking job and just as he excelled with his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he excelled in his new job.

Guillermo Diaz is a focused and determined man who never really sees obstacles, so much as assignments on a checklist of life’s “to do”.  As Diaz discussed his career moves, one thing was clear and not lost on his audience. Guillermo Diaz wakes up every morning determined to do his best, always steadfast in the resolve to make a difference. That is what makes him a great leader of people. At an early age, teachers pointed out how he possessed something clearly exceptional and it was then that he started his path towards being an effective leader.

So how does one go from setting up communication systems on an aircraft carrier of 5000 service men and woman to leading over 10,000 employees worldwide at CISCO?  Through effectively establishing and managing successful relationships.  Diaz possesses that humble confidence that makes each individual feel unique and empowered. He makes his team better. He makes those around him better. He’s making our community better.

Diaz shared a series of quotes and visual messages that spoke volumes about the keys to his success. One that resonated with most was a quote from North Carolina Basketball Coach Roy Williams, “It’s amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who takes the credit”. A stark contrast to the “look at me” climate we seem to be so bombarded with on social media today. It’s so refreshing to hear one of the most powerful individuals in the IT world speak of truly connecting one on one with people and the beauty of each individual relationship. The audience was able to learn firsthand how empowering others empowers all.  And it’s for this reason that at the conclusion of the program, Diaz was presented Silicon Valley Latino’s inaugural “Creo En Ti” Champion Award.

As the audience gathered for Q and A, Diaz eloquently and patiently answered all questions and posed for photographs with attendees, a further testament to the selfless leadership that is Guillermo Diaz. We thank all those who took the time out of there busy lives on a Saturday morning to attend this heartfelt presentation. I know we are better for taking the time, that little extra time to learn from greatness. And as Diaz explained as he did during our inaugural Inspire Higher Tour, he was once in our shoes. He’s faced hardships and rose to prominence by never wavering, never giving up. We could not have said it any better. Creo En Ti!

Personal Branding by Oscar Garcia @ SJCC Milpitas Extension

 

On January 27th San Jose City College & Silicon Valley Latino hosted a fantastic presentation Personal Branding by Mr. Oscar Garcia. He explained strategies on how to build and maintain your personal brand.

Oscar Garcia has a unique background with over 10 years of technology and nonprofit management experience. Oscar is the Founder & Chief Engagement Officer of Aspira, a community relations, economic development and training firm that empowers, engages and educates its clients. Oscar’s career journey includes business development roles at five startups, co-founding a nonprofit, Chamber President & CEO, TV host of Silicon Valley Business and Community Relations Manager at LinkedIn.

He has received various prestigious awards recognizing his leadership and community work, including the La Familia Award from the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, the NFL Hispanic Heritage Award from the San Francisco 49ers, and was nominated for Chamber Executive of the Year for the Western Association of Chamber Executives, recognizing his successful and innovative efforts to strengthen the bonds between businesses, community, nonprofits and education in Silicon Valley. As Chief Engagement Officer, his goal is to empower and engage others so they perform at their peak in order to achieve optimal results.

#CreoEnTi

 

BeVisible’s Bay Area Holibay Meet Up!

 

BeVisible Brings Together Bay Area Latinx Professionals for a Holiday Meet Up!

 

BeVisible brought the Holiday Latinxmagic spirit to the Bay Area with their first San Francisco meetup on December 13th.  Over 60 Latinx professionals and friends gathered at Alma Cocina in San Francisco for drinks, socializing, and community building with the purpose to propel LatinX in the workplace.

The evening started out with mingling and introductions. Guest enjoyed delicious appetizers and sangria from Alma Cocina, a new Latin American/Peruvian cuisine restaurant in San Francisco. All around, Latinx professionals across the innovation sector, students, and trailblazers shared their passions and career interests. Members came together to link up to promote and uplift each other by growing their network to connect with new job opportunities and recruiters seeking mission-driven Latinx professionals of the BeVisible community.

“It was inspiring to witness the community we have built all these years and to see Latinx uniting and gaining increasing access to the networks that feed the innovation economy” is how BeVisible’s CEO and co-founder of the platform that connects Latinx to inspiring peers and job opportunities with forward-thinking organizations.

Special guest and BeVisible San Francisco Member, Marcela Davison Aviles, shared her experience working as the lead cultural consultant on the film of the season, Coco.

Marcela emphasized the importance of telling authentic stories by and from the comunidad and harnessing the power of the Latinx community.

Throughout the evening members were excited to share their career journeys, interests, and future goals.

“BeVisible provided a space for us to come together and build community as Latinxs on a personal and professional level. There was a buzz of excitement in the air, one you feel when you truly feel at home”  states Karen Lazcano, BeVisible’s Ambassador

 

About BeVisible

BeVisible is on a mission to connect Latinx to opportunity to propel their careers powered by the strength of community to build and thrive together.  BeVisible launched  BeVisible’s Job portal and partnered up with organizations doing remarkable work that are looking for great LatinX talent to power their company mission. Get connected by joining the community of LatinX changemakers on www.bevisible.soy

Images taken by: Josh Masenko Sanchez http://joshmasenko.com/

Enjoy the event video below!

 

 

Inform, Protect & Defend: Our role as Immigrant Allies Forum

 

On Saturday, November 18th, Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College (SJCC) hosted a highly engaging, informative and stimulating forum related to the post-DACA landscape and the topic of immigration reform. This timely event was hosted by Jorge Escobar, Vice President at San Jose City College at the new SJCC Milpitas Extension.

The event was called “Inform, Protect & Defend: Our role as Immigrant Allies” and the convening featured a panel of immigration experts who discussed the current immigration landscape, what we could do to protect the rights of our vulnerable immigrant communities and ways to engage, advocate and support these efforts. The panel also offered the audience detailed facts and examples on what is happening on local, state and federal levels around immigration policy, ICE activities and so much more.

The forum was moderated by Zulma Maciel, Director of The City of San Jose’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. The panel featured Nikki Marquez from The Immigration Legal Resource Center, Mariela Garcia from Sacred Heart Community Service and from the Santa Clara County, Deputy District Attorney, Josue Fuentes.

All three panelists provided a unique and insightful perspective of what is happening and what we can do to help defend misinformation and assist in keeping those at-risk safe. First, they helped de-mystifying some of the rumors and fears that are circulating in our communities. They also talked about how ICE agents have been using questionable tactics in creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation throughout specific communities. When in fact, ICE agents need to follow proper law enforcement tactics and procedures to detain anyone. That includes having a warrant. They also informed the audience that anyone living in this country has the right to an attorney as well as the right to remain silent.

The most critical lesson any person can learn is that immigrants living in this country have just the same rights when it comes to law enforcement. A witness to a crime, a person volunteering at civic events, peaceful protestors and traffic violations are all protected from illegal and unnecessary investigation of a person’s citizenship.

The issue is indeed a complicated legal one. That’s why Sacred Hearts Community Services has provided a 24 hour Rapid Response Hotline. The Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County (RRN) is a community defense project developed to protect immigrant families from deportation threats from the federal administration, and to provide moral and accompaniment support during and after immigration operations in our community. It is a 24/7 hotline that community members can call to report any ICE operations in our county and receive help in real life time.

Any concerned community member that witnesses immigration enforcement activity in Santa Clara County can call the hotline number 24/7. Please note this is not a general information line, if you need general immigration services contact a community based organization in your area.

When you call the RRN line the dispatcher that received the call will support the community member in asserting their rights, and will dispatch trained Rapid Responders to the impacted site.

If immigration enforcement is confirmed, the Rapid Responders will conduct legal observation, collect evidence that may support the immigration case of the impacted family, and provide moral support and accompaniment to the impacted family. If a community member is detained, they will be connected to immigration attorneys for legal counsel and provide additional support. They want to make sure no community member has to go through this on their own.

This is a collaborative project led by Sacred Heart Community Service, PACT, Pangea Legal Services, LUNA, SIREN, CARAS, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, the South Bay Labor Council, the City of San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations.

The most prominent and encouraging defense here in Santa Clara County has been the establishment of The Rapid Response Hotline. This is a direct number to a bank of trained responders who can instantly aid and provide legal help and protocol instantly.

Indeed, many questions persist on the immigration front. Fear runs deep as our at-risk community members are so uncertain about their status in this country and what the future holds.

There are many things we can do as immigrant allies in the community. Saturday’s panel provided 10 action items we can do as immigrant allies to help protect and defend our neighbors.

 

JOIN THE RAPID RESPONSE NETWORK: Protect our undocumented community when they face ICE action. Rapid Responders will record the action of ICE agents and provide support to individuals and families. For more information or to register for a Rapid Response Training visit: http://sacredheartcs.org/rrn/. For questions, contact Rosa DeLeon at ROSAD@sacredheartcs.org.

SPREAD THE WORD: Distribute Know Your Rights (KYR) red cards and Hotline cards to friends, family, places of worship, schools, businesses patronized by Limited-English speakers, etc. For more information on red cards, visit https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards. If you would like to pick up cards from the San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs, please email ImmigrantAffaris@sanjoseca.gov

ENCOURAGE CITIZENSHIP:

– Support family members and friends who are legal permanent residents to    naturalize.          Visit the New Americans Campaign to learn about citizenship workshops in your event as        well      as information on how you can volunteer: http://newamericanscampaign.org/citizenship-events/.

– Encourage your employer to host a free citizenship workshop for its employees. Contact Monisha Merchant at the New American Workforce: mmerchant@immigrationforum.org

SUPPORT CENSUS 2020 WORK: Volunteer to reach hard-to-count individuals so that everyone is counted. The first opportunity is during Spring 2018, email Zulma Maciel for more information: Zulma.maciel@sanjosca.gov.

JOIN PRO-BONO RESPONSE NETWORK: To help meet the demand for legal services, attorneys and law students are encouraged to sign-up for the statewide Immigration Pro Bono Response network at https://onejustice.org/ourprograms/immigration/.

ATTEND AN EVENT: Show your support for local immigrant and refugee communities. To find an event near you visit http://www.immigrantinfo.org/

STAY INFORMED: LIKE San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs on Facebook   www.Facebook.com/ImmigrantAffairs.

CALL OR TWEET CONGRESS: Members of Congress need to hear from you. Please urge representatives to act swiftly to pass a clean Dream Act – a permanent legislative solution that provides a pathway toward citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers. Visit the ACLU’s Clean Dream Act website for a sample script and to be connected to your Senator:   https://goo.gl/b1ndws.

DISPLAY A WELCOMING SIGN: Show your neighbors that you’re a “WELCOMER.” Pick up a lawn sign from the OIA, email ImmigrantAffaris@sanjoseca.gov.

REPORT NOTARIO FRAUD: Unfortunately, there are people taking advantage of the immigrant community by charging for immigration services that they never provide. Visit United We Dreams’ website for more information on how you can report these activities: https://unitedwedream.org/action/help-stop-fraud/.

 

Silicon Valley Latino appreciates the support of all who attended this convening and their interest to be informed as well as their desire to act as immigrant allies. We were also delighted to have the support and attendance of community and education leaders like City of Milpitas Councilmember, Bob Nuñez, Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent, Cheryl Jordan and education champion and The Center for Latino Education and Innovation and The Maestros Accelerator Program, Executive Director, Dr. David Lopez. We were also pleased to see many local high school students in attendance with interest in becoming advocates to this important issue.  All were truly encouraged to hear real action is being done to protect hard working families, students and those who hold that dream of a better life here in America. We at Silicon Valley Latino were also proud to participate in an afternoon of hope, change and ACTION.