Press Releases

Confronting White Nationalism, in El Paso and everywhere it manifests itself

Dear Enroot Community,

Heartbroken and Shocked. These are our natural responses to tragic violence like the attacks over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton.

As the leader of an organization dedicated to lifting up the positive truth about immigrants and supporting their success, any assault on their humanity is painful. As the husband of an amazing Mexican American woman and proud father of Mexican American children, the attack in El Paso hurts in a special way.

In addition to the incomprehensible feeling of loss among victims’ families, these events also inflict trauma on many millions of people and leave them feeling less welcome, less accepted, and far less safe.

Voicing these responses, of being heartbroken and shocked, assure us of our humanity and help bring us together. And yet we can no longer truthfully claim to be shocked. Neither event could be described as shocking since they fit right into a disturbing trend that must be confronted vigorously and immediately. While the motive of the Dayton shooter remains unclear for now, the El Paso shooter was motivated by a racist White Nationalist narrative that is growing around the world. Headlines about an ‘Anti-immigrant Massacre’ and a motivating manifesto referencing a ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas’ are all at once unthinkable and yet clearly connect to words and ideas that are amplified by thought leaders in our country.

The White Nationalist ideology and movement is a cancer. Unaddressed and untreated, it will continue to grow and cause pain and destruction to our society.

It is essential for those of us who recognize this threat to speak out openly, courageously, and often. It needs to become the topic of more frequent conversation among all of us so that we can better understand it. As we develop a deeper shared understanding of its genesis and its subscribers, we must take steps together as a country to relentlessly attack it at the roots and ensure it is ultimately dismantled.

I hope that as we seek healing in this moment we turn to both love and action. In my experience the healing process requires we find productive channels for the outrage we feel. Let it be your fuel for taking action. Convert some of it into messages of love for those around you who need reassurance. Convert some of it also into concrete actions to confront and dismantle the White Nationalist narrative wherever you see it manifested. Each of us must find our role to play.

Thank you for the many ways each of you already stand in solidarity with our immigrant community, reaffirming the truth about their humanity and enormous contribution to our country.

Yours in love and in action,

Ben Clark

Standing Tall in the Face of Hatred - Enroot's Letter to the Community

Dear Community,

Most of our students moved to this country within the last few years. They sacrificed what was familiar in the hope that they would find greater security, stability, and opportunity. They knew it wouldn’t be easy but expected that for the most part they would be welcomed and encouraged to become their best.

A few years ago it would have been impossible to believe that headlines like today’s could be written as fact, not fiction - that we would have so recklessly abandoned our most cherished shared values. So many of President Trump's tweets and initiatives have been racist and dehumanizing, from his attacks on immigrants and Muslims to attacks on women and all people of color. But few will leave as big a stain on our collective conscience as the treatment under this administration of asylum seekers and migrants at our southern border and at detention centers across the country. Recent images like that of tiny Valeria and her father Oscar, and of children crammed into cages, have left many of us heartbroken and asking ourselves, ‘Who ARE we if this is how we respond to desperate families in need?’

It’s natural for many of us to turn away and tune out periodically when feeling overwhelmed by the weight of so much hatred and negativity. Enroot students, alumni, and staff do not have this luxury and must continue to summon fresh courage, resilience, and hope as they face the direct impacts of these forces daily. Even as we express our outrage about the situation at the border, it’s important to recognize how traumatizing the rhetoric and enforcement crackdowns are; not only to our students but also to their families and other members of the immigrant community. Here are just a few real-life examples of the ways the current anti-immigrant environment impacts these beloved community members on a daily basis:

  • The constant fear that any chance encounter with police or other public officials could result in detainment and deportation.

  • Enduring physical and sexual abuse without reporting it to the authorities for fear of them or a loved one being deported.

  • Wondering if a slight delay in the arrival of a parent at the end of a work shift might mean they’ve been apprehended.

  • Parents insisting their children stay home from school and forego after-school enrichment opportunities.

  • Enduring open harassment while moving about the city, including fellow students and adults saying things like “Go back to Africa!”, “I don’t want to be seen next to the FOB’s [Fresh Off the Boat’s]”, “Are you even legal!?”, “Trump is going to deport you all!” 

Can you imagine how difficult it must be to try to heal from years of trauma experienced before arriving in this country while constantly being bombarded by fresh acts of racism and aggression? Countless studies have documented how this type of recurring trauma is particularly damaging to children and adolescents.

The inhumane conditions at detention facilities, the threatened crackdown, and the many other attempts to instill fear in immigrant families require that each of us stand up with renewed vigor and use our voices to protect not only the dignity of immigrant families but also our very identity as a country. It is not an exaggeration to say this has become a fight for the soul of our nation.

This fight will not be won by simply expressing our frustration and disgust to those around us who nod in agreement. 

This moment requires we each stand up, volunteer more time, donate more money, and speak out with more courage and more urgency. Each time they ratchet up their racist rhetoric and tactics we must again raise the volume of our message of love, inclusion, and humanity. 

Let's raise our collective voice to a decibel never before heard, in a reaffirmation of who we are - a country that is compassionate and understands that we are strengthened by immigrants every single day. 

Please join me and others in the Enroot community in our commitment to fight for the security and dignity of immigrant families each day, in all the ways that we can. Below are suggestions of actions we can each take, today, tomorrow and each day until hatred and fear are no longer in the driver’s seat.

  1. Color Lines: Here's What You Can Do Right Now to Support Detained Immigrant Children.

  2. New York Times: Children Shouldn’t Be Dying at the Border. Here’s How You Can Help.

Take a moment to look carefully at the photo I’ve included below. These are immigrant students. They are loving, they are driven, they are spunky, they are wise, they are unselfish, they are resilient, they are courageous. They are future coders, lawyers, inventors, engineers, carpenters, elected officials, pediatricians, accountants, social workers, they are the leaders of today and tomorrow. This is the true narrative of these young people.

Thank you for your steadfast support of immigrant communities and for your activism at this crucial moment in our country’s journey toward equity.


Ben Clark
Executive Director

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Enroot receives $300K grant from Cummings Foundation

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Cambridge, MA - Enroot is one of the greater Boston area nonprofits sharing in the Cummings Foundation’s $25 million grant program in 2019. The Cambridge based organization that supports immigrant students has been awarded a $300,000 Sustaining Grant to be disbursed over the next ten years.

On receiving this award, Enroot’s Executive Director Ben Clark commented, “Enroot is thrilled to expand our partnership with the Cummings Foundation to advance equity for immigrant students. With the Cummings Foundation’s support over the next decade, we’ll be able to bring the Enroot experience to many hundreds of additional immigrant students in new communities around the greater Boston area.”

Enroot is specifically looking to expand to communities in Massachusetts with growing immigrant populations and a large proportion of English Learners. The support of the Cummings Foundation will allow Enroot to more confidently expand to communities that have traditionally received less philanthropic support and work to garner the support of other major funding partners.

Recognizing the value and rarity of long-term financial support for nonprofits, especially smaller organizations, programs such as the Sustaining Grants, provide ongoing funding for previous $100K for 100 winners, typically from $20,000 to $50,000 annually, for up to ten years. The Sustaining Grants program builds on Cummings Foundation's $100K for 100 programs. First offered in 2012, $100K for 100 annually awards multi-year grants of $100,000 each to 100 nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.

During the award ceremony, Cummings Foundation volunteer selection committee representative Paul Lohnes shared this reflection:

“There are many signs saying “Immigrants welcome” around Cambridge, but Enroot lives that statement. Enroot helps teach its students to light a fire within, to leverage their own power, and to upgrade their own dreams. It has an inspirational staff, totally committed and aware of what their mission is. Quick and nimble, Enroot is always ready to meet shifting needs. It follows through in concrete ways, helping students become engaged and caring adults. I feel certain about its potential for success.”

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. With assets exceeding $1.4 billion, it is one of the largest foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest commitments to date include $50 million to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and $15 million to Partners In Health, in Boston. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

About Enroot

By providing wrap-around support that tackles the unique challenges facing English Learner students in high school and in their first two years of college, Enroot narrows the achievement gap between our students and their native-born peers. Enroot’s multi-year model enables us to leverage established and long-lasting student relationships to achieve the targeted support that immigrant students need to complete high school and graduate from college.

Wicked Local: Enroot awarded $500K grant

Cambridge-based Enroot recently received a $500,000 investment from the Biogen Foundation. The grant is part of the Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative, a coordinated funding strategy to invest $10 million over four years to catalyze the development of local science, technology, engineering and mathematics ecosystems in Cambridge and Somerville.