Third Annual HEFAS Summit on Friday, May 52 min read

HEFAS (Higher Education For AB 540 Students) will be hosting their third annual summit, themed “Bridges Not Walls,” on Friday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Euphrat Museum Of Art.

The theme was chosen as a response to the country’s current administration.

The HEFAS summit will focus primarily on the needs of undocumented and AB 540 students as well as ways to offer any means of support for these individuals.

The event will feature keynote speaker and creator of the Dreamers Roadmap app, Sarahi Salamanca, three different workshops, information regarding scholarships, students panels and much more. In addition to the informational workshops and interactive activities, the summit will provide tacos for lunch.

Students and faculty members from San Jose State University, Berkeley College, Cañada College and some high schools are expected to attend the summit.

The event is extended to undocumented students as well as those who consider themselves allies to the undocumented community.

“Most of the folks that registered are allies, that really goes with our theme,” Brenda Pantoja, 24 business administration major and outreach administrative coordinator for HEFAS, said. “We want to emphasize allyship.”

The first workshop will be hosted by Shaila Ramos, co-founder of HEFAS, and will go over how to be an effective ally to the undocumented community. Guests must register for either a healing workshop, led by Jose Ivan Arreola, founder of the UndocuHealing Project, or a law and policy workshop, taught by immigration attorney Marcus Tang.

Information, both on a state and national level, regarding the rights of undocumented Americans and what to do if confronted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will be discussed at the law and policy workshop.

Pantoja said the presidential election and the country’s current political climate has left undocumented students afraid and unsure over what their future holds. The healing seminar would provide a space for people to share their feelings and thoughts, and as a way to ensure self care.

“Storytelling is a decolonized way of healing” Pantoja said.

Following the second round of workshops will be a student panel composed of undocumented students, allies, and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. The panel will give guests the opportunity to hear first hand accounts/experiences of being an undocumented student or an ally for the rights of undocumented Americans.

The event will end with a tour of the Euphrat’s newest student art exhibit.