Earlier this summer we watched as political newcomers challenged the existing political landscape in districts around the country. Their primary victories were just a foreshadowing of a uniquely exciting mid-term election. This year an unprecedented surge in women candidates and candidates of color present a generational opportunity to re-draw the political landscape for decades to come.
Last week a close friend’s mother was studying for the Civics exam for US citizenship and I was struck by two questions,
“What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens” and “Name one right only for United States citizens”
It occurred to me how privileged we are to have the right to participate in an election that has far-reaching implications, especially when so many others including many of our Enroot families cannot, despite working hard and paying taxes.
Especially at this juncture in our country’s history, it’s essential that all of us who enjoy this privilege utilize it to further advance equity and justice in our communities. Your vote is your voice, and the voice of so many others without one.
It’s also important we use our voice to bring attention to the important issues at stake and encourage those around us to vote too. Share a message with friends about the ballot questions. Offer rides on election day to those who need assistance getting to the polls.
Our newsletter this month spotlights “Student Voice.” Many of our students had the opportunity to showcase their improving public speaking skills as they shared their experiences with community members at events around Cambridge and Somerville. We hope you enjoy seeing them in action.
Regardless of which candidates you believe in, thanks for making sure you vote and for using YOUR voice to fight for justice.
Yours in Solidarity,
Conversation with the Commissioner
On October 10th, students, staff, and community members participated in a town hall on the State of Latino Education in Somerville with Jeff Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Somerville students asked critical questions about the state of education for immigrants and Latino students, ranging from the high cost of college for students without documentation in Massachusetts to creating a more inclusive curriculum showcasing diverse and representative writers and historical figures. Read more about the event on our blog.
Spotlight on Student Voice
Enroot students from Cambridge and Somerville shared their stories of immigration and finding community at Cambridge Community Foundation's "The Immigrant Experience: Learning Through Art and Community Voice." The event was held in Harvard Yard, with Teresita Fernandez’s temporary public art installation, Autumn (…Nothing Personal), as the backdrop. Thank you to Cambridge Community Foundation for inviting us to participate! Read more about the event here.
The Cambridge Historical Society delved into questions of identity, belonging, and welcoming at their fall event: "Where is Cambridge From." Three Enroot students presented their stories of immigration from India, Haiti, and Morocco to the United States, focusing on their journey to learn English, navigate a new school system, and find community in a new city. Read about the event on our blog.
This year, Enroot is matching 175 immigrant students with caring adult mentors who will meet with them once a week over the course of the year, working on everything from college applications to practicing English. A few highlights from our mentoring cohorts:
Cambridge: Students met with their mentors on Tuesday night and got to know each other over pizza through games and activities, including a rock paper scissor championship!
Somerville: Explore and Leadership students met their mentors at our Mentor Match nights, where they "interviewed" each other and learned what they have in common. They formed and untangled a "human knot" and played a game involving balancing cookies on their forheads.
Microsoft Volunteers with Enroot
Microsoft volunteers joined us on Tuesday to put together care packages for Enroot's College Success students. Volunteers wrote cards and stuffed envelopes to send our College Success students some extra support as they head into mid-term exams. One of our current Enroot students stopped by to ask how Microsoft volunteers found their career path and any recommendations they had for an aspiring computer scientist. Thank you to Microsoft for being a partner is hosting student field trips, volunteering, and holding micro-fundraisers for Enroot.
Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences.