DREAM Foundation's Second Annual Scholarship Gala
Speech made on September 15, 2018 by Dr. Roy Aranda
Honorary Board Member of the DREAM Foundation and Honoree
Did you know that there are approximately 55.3 million Hispanics residing in the United States? It is estimated that by 2050 the Hispanic population will be 103 million. The United States has become the second largest country in the world with a Hispanic population.
I say this to preface my next few statements and stress the importance of coming together to help realize the dreams and ambitions of many Dreamers through organizations such as the DREAM Foundation that provides college scholarships to outstanding immigrant students who otherwise are unable to obtain government financial aid.
I am privileged to be part of the DREAM Foundation; today, I am more privileged to have been selected to be honored along with my co-honorees.
I have worked for 4 decades with disenfranchised groups, people who have been unempowered to live a life of what I call "reasonable quality" and have championed Hispanics throughout my professional career.
I have taken up the torch to speak for them and try to rectify the many wrongs and pervasive stereotypes and outright prejudice they encounter daily. Things such as:
- Hispanics are second class citizens
- They are the subject of racial jokes
- They are subjected to widespread social injustices
- They are less worthy of services because they are "illegals"
- They are invalidated because of their speech or accent and because of appearance
There are many consequences to these stereotypes:
- Denial of or inadequate treatment
- Denial of needed services including educational and career opportunities
- Loss of income
- Loss of benefits
- Enduring emotional and physical conditions
Approximately 11 million Hispanics are undocumented. The current political climate reinforces marginalization and stereotypes and has resulted in increased anxiety and fear among many Hispanics, not only the undocumented, but even immigrants who are in the U.S lawfully and citizens who worry about possible separations from family members who are undocumented and fear ICE stops and law enforcement sweeps targeting Hispanics.
Dismantling DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has created a sense of foreboding and doom. Almost 800,000 were approved for DACA since it was instituted in 2012. DACA enabled young people to pursue their dreams. They are students, employers & employees, homeowners and business owners. They are sons and daughters; some now are parents.
Diversity has been the hallmark of what makes this country great. Yet, I have seen the very roots of diversity eroded and pulled out from under us, and the already precarious lives of many Hispanics grows increasingly tenuous.
What greater example than tearing apart innocent, young children from their parents, unmoved, perhaps unaware of the long-lasting consequences, particularly, the emotional fall-out?
I created a Tool Kit for working with Hispanics; some of the things we all can push for to champion Hispanics:
- Be aware of common stereotypes and routinely engage in self-monitoring of beliefs about Hispanics. Do no assume all Hispanics are cut from the same cloth.
- Do not assume that the same procedures or interventions apply to all Hispanics.
- Be sensitive to culture-typical conversations and language usage. Consider language dominance and cultural, religious, political, social, and familial traditions, and attitudes and beliefs regarding the many institutions they depend on.
- Seek as needed collateral sources that have hands-on knowledge about the upbringing, roots, and traditions of Hispanics.
In parting, I leave you with a quotation made by the late Senator McCain that I find fits this occasion well:
"America's greatest strength has always been its hopeful vision of human progress. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity, and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three."
What is this message - if not - the embodiment of a bipartisan vision for us all?
Below are some images captured at the event.