Culture

This Dominican Immigrant Teen Just Got Into Harvard On His Own Merit

The recent college admissions scandal has highlighted the fact that many of the rich and famous are gaming a system already favoring them. Children of the rich are facing growing scrutiny after the world learned schools were bribed to accept certain students. Meanwhile, the story is shedding light on students of color getting into exceptional colleges on their merit while overcoming incredible obstacles. Emilio De Leon is one student showing the world what students of color are capable of doing.

Meet Emilio De Leon, a Dominican immigrant that just got accepted into Harvard.

De Leon, a senior at a Florida high school, posted his amazing achievement on social media and it currently has more than 150,000 likes.

“Not bad for an immigrant kid who used to shower outside #harvard2023!” De Leon wrote on Twitter. The tweet included a picture of him, his mom holding the flag of the Dominican Republic, and a cute picture of him showering outside.

If you’re wondering what it means to be accepted into Harvard, please consider the following: Out of more than 40,000 people that apply to attend, only a little more than 2,000 get accepted — according to last year’s report.

Furthermore, Latinos are a minority at Harvard. According to a report from 2016, the student population, both undergraduate and graduate, is 42.4 percent white, 13.5 percent Asian, 8.04 percent Latino, 5.28 percent Black, 3.77 percent mixed race, 0.22 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders. A majority of the population, including race and gender, are white males.

Here’s how social media is taking this wonderful news.

We may not know De Leon personally, but we were crying buckets. There is something so inspiring about watching someone from such humble beginnings reach such heights.

He’s already getting attention from his Harvard classmates.

We know what it is like to find people like yourself in certain settings and how great that feels. There is something so amazing and comforting about getting connected with people who understand your culture. How many of us have sought out other Latinos in our spaces to connect with?

So when is he going to be on the “Desus & Mero” show?

Juan Ayala — a/k/a Platano Man or the subway Superman as we’d like to call him — is asking and is giving him props too. We would love to see De Leon interviewed about his experience getting to Harvard and even some insight to his first couple of days.

He even got a nice welcome from his new university.

So very cool! Keep us updated, Emilio, and congratulations. You clearly put in the work and deserve it. Harvard ain’t ready for the kind of magic and hard work a Latino will bring after striving for the best in life. We are rooting for you!

READ: How One Latina’s App Is Helping Undocumented Students Find Ways To Pay For College

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Pastor And Stripper Who Have Come Together To Raise Money For Migrant Kids

Things That Matter

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Pastor And Stripper Who Have Come Together To Raise Money For Migrant Kids

clackamasucc / Instagram

“I started brainstorming with a stripper on how the church could help,” Rev. Adam Ericksen said in an interview with People Magazine last week. This pastor teamed up with a stripper to “raise awareness and support for the children in Mississippi who were torn apart by the ICE raids from their families.”

This honestly sounds like the setup for a joke and we’re waiting for the punchline.

Instagram / @clackamasucc

There is no punchline because what this pastor and stripper are fighting for is no laughing matter. The two were horrified when in early August almost 700 people were arrested in an ICE raid in Mississippi. Countless children were left without parents to care for them, feed them, and be there for them. Struck by the injustice, Rev. Adam Ericksen and Dawn McCall started the “Our Kids Charity Campaign,” which was designed to raise money for the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, or MIRA. The group provides advocacy and support for immigrants — and, by extension, assists children who have been affected by ICE raids.

So how did a pastor meet a stripper in the first place?

Instagram / @clackamasucc

Rev. Ericksen first caught McCall’s attention a few months ago, after he posted a sign outside his church in support of trans rights. Inspired, McCall got in touch with the reverend over Facebook, saying, “I love what you are are doing, keep it up.” Once the news about the raids got out, it was only a matter of time before Rev. Ericksen and McCall were discussing how the mass detentions had impacted on the community and how they could mobilize their resources to help. What they came up with was handmade, G-rated t-shirts to raise money for MIRA, and similar groups.

Rev. Ericksen’s had mixed feelings when they found out he was collaborating with a stripper and her girls.

Instagram / @laurenssseeley

One the one hand, everyone at the Clackamas United Church of Christ in Oregon, Mississippi was supportive of the reverend’s efforts to raise money for the cause. On the other hand, they were less supportive of the fact that Rev. Ericksen decided to partner with McCall and “her girls” to generate funds. “This was not the first thing on my mind when I became a pastor, that I’d be working with strippers,” said Ericksen, in the interview with People Magazine. “You would never expect a stripper and a pastor having the same values … but here it is.”

And in all honesty, strange times call for even stranger measures.

Instagram / @laurenssseeley

Who would have thought that the US government would essentially spearhead a campaign to separate children from their parents? Even the mayor of Jackson, the state’s capital, said that the raids were “dehumanizing and inhumane,” and were designed to “further alienate communities from law enforcement.” It seems only right that anyone and everyone who has the means to take a stand against the separation of children and parents should do so. Even if that means that reverends and dancers from the local vegan stripping joint have to form their own superhero squad to tackle the issue. Under the hashtag #ourkids – of course.

But let’s stop and think for a second about why this is happening in the first place.

Instagram / @clackamasucc

Here’s the thing: ICE and whatever associated departments that are conducting these raids and facilitating child-parent separations are, on the most fundamental level, simply following governmental policy. They’re not the ones who are developing and passing the laws that permit these atrocities to happen.

Yes this story makes for strange headlines but let’s not forget what this is really about: helping children.

Instagram / @teamblupdx 

McCall sums it up beautifully in a recent Insta post: “I would like to thank our LOCAL MEDIA and our FB and IG followers for helping us spread the word about the #OURKIDS fundraising campaign. However, I need to raise my hand to remind everybody to STAY ON MESSAGE. The #OURKIDS campaign is NOT about a pastor and a stripper … the immigrant families and #OURKIDS in Mississippi were attacked by Donald Trump’s sh*tty government with support from his sh*tty constituents. THESE ARE NOT OUR PEOPLE but those are #OURKIDS. The ICE raids had an evil financial and political agenda that ripped these “not white” families apart, traumatizing them forever!”

And on that note: for those of you who are interested in getting your hot little hands on one of the #ourkids t-shirts, you can find them here, on Etsy.

Arizona’s Republican Governor Applauds New Rule Giving DACA Students Discount On College Tuition

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Arizona’s Republican Governor Applauds New Rule Giving DACA Students Discount On College Tuition

Governor Doug Ducey / Facebook

Republican Governor Doug Ducey took an unprecedented stance this week when he applauded the decision to offer a discount to Arizona’s undocumented students. Last Thursday, the Arizona Board of Regents voted 8-0 to cut the tuition cost for DACA students. 

In 2018, the Arizona Supreme Court had reversed in-state tuition eligibility for DACA students, which put graduation in jeopardy and education on hold for many. This was a huge set back from the 2015 victory, which came after almost a decade of fighting for in-state eligibility.

The cost to attend Arizona universities and/or colleges is estimated at around $11,00 for students with citizenship documentation. Students without documentation were required to pay out-of-state tuition which is around $30,000. Now, with the discounted rate, tuition for undocumented students will come down to around $16,000. This is still more than in-state tuition, but it does make the dream of obtaining a higher education, that is much closer for thousands of students.

Students in Arizona have shown their support for fair tuition for DACA students.

Credit: @TucsonStar / Twitter

In a recent interview with KJZZ, Governor Ducey spoke at length on a range of topics, including immigration. He had stated in the past that he would support all measures of increased border security and yet has not signed any bills that would imply heavy added border measures.

“Well listen, I think somebody that graduates from an Arizona high school is an Arizona kid, and I want to see them have Arizona opportunities in front of them. So I congratulate the regents for the first step around this,” Governor Ducey told KJZZ. “But I do believe that if you are here and graduate from an Arizona high school, you should have the same opportunities that anyone else that graduates from Arizona high schools has.”

Gov. Ducey is celebrating the news that DACA student will receive lower tuition rates for college.

Governor Doug Ducey / AZgovernor.Gov

Democratic leaders are still watching him closely. One of Governor Ducey’s first bills signed into law was the requirement that all high school students must take and pass the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization civics citizenship test in order to graduate. 

Keep in mind fewer than 13 percent of average Americans could pass that 100-question exam. In order to fulfill the graduation requirement, you pass 60 out of 100. Arizona is the first to state to pass such a law.

Regardless of his latest praise, people are still wary of Gov. Ducey’s longterm goals.

Credit: Governor Doug Ducey / Facebook

On the subject of white supremacy, it’s a toss-up.  During this past 4th of July, Americans were divided on the Nike shoe issue. Some folks felt that it was unpatriotic for Nike to pull the plug on the Betsy Ross flag-inspired design, rallying being a white nationalist ideal, meanwhile, the majority of the rest of us, realized that this was a huge nod to the days of slavery and why hell would we celebrated that!?

Gov. Ducey’s own beliefs have caused some people to pause over the years.

Credit: @dougducey / Twitter

At the time, Nike was ready to open a new facility in Arizona but then the governor pulled the Nike incentive package, angry at the fact that Nike had canceled the distribution of the colonial- era flag sneaker, which they felt was racially charged and not in sync with Nike values.

Democrats called him out for supporting ideas that were in line with the racist right-wing side of the Republican party.

Credit: @RepRubenGallego / Twitter

Then, a week later, the Republican Governor flip-flopped and denied that he ever pulled the incentive packed. He welcomed the Nike manufacturing facility to Goodyear, Arizona. The new site is expected to create more than 500 full-time jobs. 

It is no secret that before the Trump administration, Arizona was known for creating some of the harshest anti-immigration laws in the nation.

Credit: azgov / Instagram

Under former Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer the controversial SB 1070, better known as the “show me your papers” law which opened the door to racial profiling by law enforcement, was passed. Brewer also signed into law HB 2281, banning Mexican-American studies, the law was later ruled to be racist and unconstitutional by a federal judge.

In 2014 Ducey – then the state’s treasurer and the former CEO of Stone Cold Creamery – threw his hat into the ring of politics, running against Governor Jan Brewer. He defeated her and then went on to also win his reelection in 2018.

During his two terms, Ducey has managed to stay out of the fray, from both sides of the political aisle.

Credit: Governor Doug Ducey  / Facebook

For the most part, he hasn’t passed any anti-immigration policies that are on the level of his predecessor, but this an election year and anything could change.

What does this all mean for Arizona? The jury is still out on that one. His campaign website says very little about immigration, sticking mostly to “border security” issues in regard to drug trafficking.

For many, the deciding factor will be whether-or-not the governor will show support for notorious ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio recently announced that he is running for the office of sheriff again despite his infamous tenure characterized by his unapologetic and inhumane treatment of inmates and racial targeting of Latinos. He described his outside tents as “concentration camps” where migrants were housed outside in the 120-degree Arizona heat. In his time as sheriff of Maricopa County, more than 120 people died in his jails, 24 percent of those from suicide.

In 2017, after an investigation had been conducted, he was tried and found guilty of criminal contempt by a federal judge, stemming from a racial profiling case. However, President Trump granted him a full presidential pardon.

We will be ready to fight that battle should it come, but for right now, let’s have a moment to celebrate for our undocumented brothers and sisters from Arizona, this is some much needed good news. A chance, a hope, to seek the next level of education and plan for the future.

READ: He Was Convicted Of Racial Profiling But Now America’s ‘Toughest Sheriff’ Is Running For His Old Job