Taking "Vigorous and Positive Action"

Jan. 18, 2017

Dear Students,

I hope you had a good first week of the quarter and enjoyed your long weekend in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His principles, and his many publications and speeches, remain deeply relevant almost half a century later, and particularly as we face the inauguration of a new administration that acutely concerns so many of you. Our faculty and staff are also concerned, and I have emailed them as well today.

On the college’s social media on Monday, we highlighted this quotation from Dr. King: "This is no time for complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action."

In that vein, we are continuing and expanding our support for our undocumented students, as the incoming president repeatedly claimed he would deport undocumented residents during his campaign. Please check our continually updated resources webpage at www.deanza.edu/students/undoc-students, which also includes new video interviews with HEFAS student activists. More videos are in progress, including a brief resources video being developed with HEFAS students that can be used as a resource in the classroom.

Four key events are upcoming:

  • Remarks and Q&A, Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter and founder of Define American, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31, location TBA
  • "Undocumented in the New Administration: What Trump Can and Cannot Change," presentation and Q&A, Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) attorney Alison Kamhi, 3:30-4:30 p.m., also on Tuesday, Jan. 31, Campus Center Conference Rooms A&B
  • Training on how to organize, and help or advise friends and relatives, ILRC attorney Alison Kamhi, details TBA
  • Legal assistance for undocumented students with specific questions, details TBA

Beyond these programs, we know we will need to respond to other unanticipated federal initiatives. We are in uncharted waters, and genuinely do not know what actions the administration will take -- or attempt -- with respect to health care, Social Security, education, race and gender inequality, or any other area of policy that is critical to individuals and the nation. But actions there will be.

Our work is made more difficult by the emergence of “post-truth” politics, in which opinion is all, and lying is reinforced by many in the media acting as if all claims were equal in value -- even those demonstrably false. How are we to prepare ourselves for debates in which it gets harder and harder to sort out fact from fiction? Well, that’s our job together: making sure we have media literacy, scientific literacy, literary and social literacy -- the information literacy that is an Institutional Core Competency of the college.

In helping ourselves develop these literacies, we serve ourselves well, and also serve the country. Thomas Jefferson put it simply: "An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic."

The immediacy of our response to threats against undocumented students signals what will have to be our common concern: that the constitutional and civil rights of all people are defended. Please know that we are concerned for all threats to civil liberties during these unprecedented times. I urge you to get involved, take action, and care for each other. Thank you.

Best wishes,
Brian Murphy

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