Things That Matter

This Latina College Student Was Too Afraid To Renew Her DACA Status And It Cost Her A Position In Student Government

Ana Ramirez is preparing to be a sophomore at Western Washington University. The 19-year-old recently ran for the position of Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the Associated Student Board of Director. The good news: Ramirez won and was elected to the position. The bad news: University officials pulled her from the position because she is undocumented and not a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. Mitú spoke with Ramirez about what happened.

Ana Ramirez was ready to assume her position as Vice President for Governmental Affairs of Associated Students at Western Washington University.

Ana Ramirez / Facebook

“The position that I was elected to do is like a liaison between administration, the state legislature, the federal government, and the Associated students of Western Washington University,” Ramirez told mitú. “Part of my duties include chairing the legislative affairs counsel, which is a committee that creates the lobby day agendas. My position does all the work on the Western lobby day when we go down to Olympia to lobby. I’d oversee an office called the Representation and Engagement Program that puts on a voter registration drive, which is the largest of all of the colleges in Washington.”

But before she could take on her position, she was told that she might not be able to participate under federal law.

The AS Board Inauguration was a nice way to wrap up the year, as it was the last thing I needed to do before I could pack up and leave Bellingham for a bit. This year has been so long and wild and I never would have imagined I would be in the position that I am now when I first came to Western back in September. This year has been so draining and I'm so tired and I feel so dead and I almost dropped out and I thought about transferring so so so many times, but I'm still here and I'm doing good things and somehow I'm still alive and I owe that to all my lovely friends because I know that at the end of the day I will be okay because I have them ?? Also Larry came to the inauguration and I almost started crying LOL I love Larry ??

A post shared by Ana Ramirez™ (@ana.abigail.ramirez) on

“After careful research and significant review of both creative alternatives and the existing law regarding the possible means by which we can legally compensate our undocumented students who have not received DACA, we have not found a viable option that would allow for payment or even a way to allow for a student to engage in volunteer service when the work involved would otherwise be considered paid work,” Paul Cocke, the director of Office of Communications and Marketing for Western Washington University, told mitú via email. “As much as the University values undocumented students and has a deep commitment to inclusion, we cannot put individual students or the University at risk of violating federal or state law.”

According to both Ramirez and the university spokesperson, the point of contention in Ramirez serving on the Associated Students Board of Directors is her immigration status and lack of DACA, which is currently under review.

Stephanie Cheng / Facebook

“A lot of the reason why I waited [to file for DACA] was because of safety concerns and worrying that the program would end,” Ramirez admitted to mitú. “If I paid $495 and then President Trump cancels this program then I lose all of this money. I need that money. Under President Obama, no DACA recipients were ever detained but now, under President Trump, DACA recipients started being detained. That’s really scary to see and I would be putting out all of my information to people that don’t even want me in this country and they could just find me and take me if they really wanted to.”

Volunteering for the position is also off the table, according to Cocke, because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services deems that as work.

Ana Ramirez / Facebook

“In addition, federal law indicates undocumented individuals cannot hold a position that would normally include compensation such as an Associated Students elected position that is eligible for compensation,” Cocke told mitú. “Unfortunately, as for temporarily volunteering for an elected position, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) views such volunteering as ‘work,’ even if short in duration, and it requires proper employment authorization issued by that agency.”

But Ramirez says that something should be done to help undocumented students who, unlike her, do not have DACA as an option.

just want y'all to know marching in high heels isn't as easy as I make it look ??#getonmylevel #committedtothecause

A post shared by Ana Ramirez™ (@ana.abigail.ramirez) on

“I am qualified for this position and the only thing holding me back is that I don’t have DACA right now,” Ramirez told mitú. “There are a lot of students that don’t qualify for DACA and they also deserve a chance to be on Associated Students or on the student government because DACA is an option for me but that’s not always going to be the case.”

While university officials acknowledge Ramirez’s talent and qualifications to hold the positions, Cocke told mitú that their hands are tied by federal and state law.

“The University values and seeks to encourage strong student leaders,” Cocke told mitú. “Despite Ana Ramirez’ clear talent and leadership, the University is obligated to separate the individual talent and contributions from legal requirements as the law makes no exceptions based on those personal characteristics.”

As for why she is publicly fighting this fight, Ramirez credits her own desire to overcome her fear.

Ana Ramirez / Facebook

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Nos quitaron tanto que nos quitaron el miedo.’ (They’ve taken away so much that they’ve taken away our fear.),” Ramirez told mitú. “We have to lose our fears.”


READ: This Top Latina Athlete Is Refusing To Run For Her College Until It Fixes Its Racism Problem

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Naya Rivera’s Dad Says ‘Glee’ Showrunner Ryan Murphy Lied About Setting Up a College Fund for Her Son, Josey

Entertainment

Naya Rivera’s Dad Says ‘Glee’ Showrunner Ryan Murphy Lied About Setting Up a College Fund for Her Son, Josey

Photos via Getty Images

Months after Naya Rivera’s untimely passing, her family is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of her death. Although there was an outpouring of well-wishes and condolences after Rivera’s tragic drowning, many people have unfortunately moved on. But Rivera’s family is still coping.

On Tuesday, Naya Rivera’s father, George Rivera, slammed “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy for making “broken promises” to Rivera’s son, Josey.

Last July, Murphy pledged to set up a college fund for Josey. In a statement, Murphy said: ““Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the Glee family, and her son Josey. The three of us are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all.”

But since then, George Rivera has vented his frustration at the media mogul via Twitter. In response to a July, 2020 tweet that praised Ryan Murphy for his generosity, George Rivera wrote: “Everyone needs to know what Ryan Murphy really did … or didn’t do !!! I’m about to blow up this story …. and make sure he’s knows that I know ….”

In subsequent tweets, George Rivera accused Ryan Murphy both of faking his grief over Naya’s death and lying about setting up a college fund for Josey.

“When you are part of the Hollywood elite, some people treat others as they are “less than” …. vocalize a good game , but it’s as shallow as the sets on stage , that they create,” Rivera wrote. “Promises made in public, only to fade with time and excuses …. even in a unexplainable tragedy …”

Soon enough, fans of Naya Rivera began to engage with George Rivera, asking him to disclose what happened behind the scenes. One zealous fan wrote “Let it out, G. Let it out,” to which Rivera responded, “Broken Promises….. fake outrage …. hollow gestures ….. no phone call.”

George Rivera’s accusations against Ryan Murphy shocked many fans who had thought that her son would be taken care of by the ultra-successful producer.

Looking for clarification, one fan asked, “Did they never open the trust fund for josey? omg,” to which George responded, “Hahaaaa.” His response the initial veiled accusation.

In response to George’s accusations, many “Glee” fans rallied around the grieving father. “If you have anything else please do share,” wrote one Naya Rivera fan account. “We’re going to listen and make sure you have the platform to share whatever that awful man said and did to you and your family, we’re with you.”

Ryan Murphy quickly took to Twitter to address the allegations and defend himself–albeit vaguely.

“Myself, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan have committed to create a college fund for Naya Rivera’s child Josey through the Naya Rivera Estate Trust,” Murphy wrote. “We have been in repeated conversations with the appropriate executors of her estate.”

Based on Murphy’s use of the word “committed”, it does, indeed, sound like he hasn’t actually started the fund yet. We hope he keeps his promise and starts that very soon.

Regardless, we’re glad that George Rivera was brave enough to call out Hollywood power players that were letting his family down.

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A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

Fierce

A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

Shanya Robinson-Owens applied to over 20 colleges and has been accepted into 18 of them.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the high school senior has also been offered more than $1 million in scholarship money. The 17-year-old Philadelphia teen currently attends George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science but is headed towards a pretty bright and educated future.

According to a recent interview with “Good Morning America” the star student earned $1,074,260 in scholarships.

“We are overjoyed,” Robinson-Owens aunt told the show in a recent interview. “I knew she wouldn’t have a problem getting into colleges, but we didn’t know they would award her this much money in scholarship funds.”

Shanya, who was accepted to Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; La Salle University in Philadelphia; Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri; Temple University in Philadelphia and Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, told GMA that she “wasn’t really expecting it” so many offers let alone so much money.

The senior currently holds a 3.2-grade point average and is a member of the school’s yearbook committee. She also works as an intern alongside her Chinese language teacher.

When it comes to the advice she’d give other students, Shayna says it’s important to “take your time” with your work and the application process.

“You really have to be patient,” Shanya explained. “Stay focused. If you need to have some time away, it’s OK. You can tell your teachers that because they know you’re stressed.”

“We’ve always been extremely proud of her,” Shanya’s aunt, Christine Owens, explained to GMA. “My mother has helped raise Shanya since she was a baby. We’ve just been working as a team making sure Shanya keeps God first in anything she does and she is succeeding.”

Speaking about Shanya, her school principal Ted Domers told GMA that Shanya is a “well-respected student at her school.”

“In addition to being a part of a movement to bring more social action to our school, she’s involved in a number of extracurricular activities that show the breadth of her skills, from robotics to journalism,” Domers explained. “It is a privilege for us to count Shanya as one of our own and we are excited to see her create opportunities for her future.”

Shanya has yet to make a college pick.

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