John Jay’s Social Anatomy of a Deportation Regime Working Group Holds A Conference on Immigration

John Jay’s Social Anatomy of a Deportation Regime Working Group Holds A Conference on Immigration

John Jay’s Social Anatomy of a Deportation Regime Working Group Holds A Conference on Immigration

On April 29, a large group of John Jay students gathered together to learn more about immigration issues. With good reason, 33 percent of the College’s student population is immigrant. Hosted by John Jay College’s Social Anatomy of a Deportation Regime Working Group, the conference, named “Immigration in the Age of Criminality, Precarity, Resilience and Resistance” examined the issue of what it means to be an immigrant. Keynote speakers of the event were members of the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC). “Founded in 2007, the New York State Youth Leadership Council is the first undocumented youth led organization in New York,” said Shirley Leyro, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology as she introduced Maria Vera, NYSYLC Dream Team Coordinator, and Pamela Benitez, NYSYLC Dream Team Fellow. “They work to empower immigrant youth through leadership development, grass-root organizing, educational advancement and self-expression. NYSYLC’s goal is to give undocumented youths the tools and space to organize and create change.”

Maria Vera
Maria Vera

Part of that empowerment includes creating inclusive safe spaces in academia for immigrants and undocumented students. “We have to think about who is at the table,” said Benitez. “Everything is about language. The language you use when you speak to people and when you think about groups of people. It takes a lot of effort to educate yourself, reflect and find spaces to foster that kind of transformational growth, but if you start thinking about the thoughts you have and the language you use, you can create a better world for all.”

Pamela Benitez talking to the audience as Vera listens
Pamela Benitez talking to the audience as Vera listens

To support informed participation in our democracy, the College provides access to public officials in their official capacity and candidates without regard to political party affiliation or policy views. Views expressed are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the position of the College. See http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/sites/default/files/legal_counsel/pol_activities_memo.pdf