Making History: This Latina Is the First Undocumented Student to Earn a PhD

Mexican-born California native Gloria Montiel is breaking barriers and making history—literally. After becoming the first high school student from Santa Ana High School to attend Harvard in 2005, she has just made history in becoming the first undocumented student to earn a Phd from Claremont University.

Taking advantage of Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiative—which he enacted in 2012 to give undocumented students a chance to gain higher education, Gloria strived to prove her detractors wrong. Though the journey didn’t come without struggle. “I said, ‘I want to go to Harvard,” she recalled to Ed. Magazine adding that a former classmate in her freshman year of high school said: ‘Don’t you know Mexican girls don’t go to Harvard?” This heartbreak only drove her to pull off a “miracle.” Taking on babysitting jobs to cover the rest of her tuition, she did—graduating from Harvard’s Education Master program in 2011.

Montiel spent most of her post-grad life educating people like her who may not know that they have the same opportunities and rights to education as other students do—mentoring prospective students about the same lessons she learned. Gloria’s story is the same as many people like her in America, especially in the turbulent times we live in today. However, she remains hopeful and determined in showing those people that they have one thing left—hope. In an interview with Univision she said: “I hope my story gives people a little bit of hope at a time when people are living in fear. However, it’s also proof of what’s possible to achieve.” It looks like she’s on the right path, as usual, already. 

African-American Women Behind the Space Race

February is Black History Month, and was first officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, only 41 years ago. The purpose of Black History Month is to recognize black achievements and celebrate trailblazer who overcame major obstacles. The United States still lives under a very dark history because of slavery and the slave trade. On paper, America stood for freedom. But that freedom was denied to black America. White America, lived in a privileged world that denied human rights to others who look different.

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“Yes we did.” – President Barack Obama

As we enter the final days of the Obama administration, the uncertainty and controversy over our President-elect only becomes more of a reality. The final speeches from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are in the books.

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Campus Activism

2015 was a big year for African-American student protesters. There were both large and small student protests throughout the year. Students at the University of Missouri, New York University, Ithaca College, Georgetown, Princeton, Yale, the University of North Carolina, and more, got together at their respective universities to protest different culturally offensive events, and materials.

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Hate Crime at Harvard Law

The hallways of Harvard Law School are lined with portraits of every tenured professor in the history of the university.

These portraits that normally provide such pride and hope for young African-American students, have been hatefully defaced by a single strip of black tape crossing out the face of each African-American professor shown on the walls.

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Shining a Light on Diversity in Literature

There is a reason the world places such strong emphasis on reading. Reading lets the human mind explore places, worlds, ideas that wouldn’t be accessible otherwise. It fosters imagination and empathy, and even helps develop deeper analytical thinking and social skills in a world that is constantly diversifying. For this, diversity in literature is vital and We Need Diverse Books is exactly the kind of non-profit organization to promote the agenda.
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Toy Company Addresses Diversity in a Different Way

Toy companies have made efforts to represent people from all around the globe but few have address diversity in family units. MyFamilyBuilders is a new toy company that is looking to address not only families from around the world but kids can build multi-racial families, or with two moms, or two dads and so on. They are currently looking for funding via Kickstarter. Click here to see/contribute to their campaign.

LAUSD’s Teachers Are Not Reflective of its Students

As the first day of school approaches for most students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, The Los Angeles Times breaks down some interesting statistics. One fact is that nearly 3/4 of the students in the LAUSD are Latino but the same can’t be said of its teaching staff. Click here to see more.

NYC Public School System Still Facing Racial Diversity Challenges

A recent study on the racial makeup of students who were accepted into New York City’s elite specialized high schools showed that 5% of students offered seats for next fall are black, 7% Hispanic, 28% white and 52% Asian. New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña says she will continue to review ideas on how to increase diversity at this level of education but also admits, “at the end of the day, however, the best way to increase diversity at these schools is to ensure that every student goes to a great elementary and middle school.” Is this enough? Click here to read more.