A Statement from the Inclusion, Access, and Success and Government Relations Committees:
June 2020 was a historic month for many of our students, families, friends, and communities. People across the country came together to demonstrate the power of using a collective voice to enact change. In the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others, thousands joined the Black Lives Matter movement in support of Black lives and to demand justice against the systemic racism, violence, discrimnation, and inequality facing Black Americans. The Inclusion, Access, and Success (IAS) Committee along and Government Relations Committee (GRC) strongly affirms its stance in support of Black lives, including those of our students, families, colleagues, and communities. We join IACAC leadership in standing against violence and oppression and in support of equity and inclusion. As mentioned in the statement released in early June by IACAC, “IACAC leadership stands with our Black peers and will continue to champion the work of supporting equity and inclusion. We honor the rights of all Black Americans to live their full lives in freedom and in safety from violence and oppression in our communities, our schools, and on our campuses.”
Every year we celebrate Pride Month throughout June and on June 15th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that individuals cannot be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While Illinois already had protected the LGBTQ+ community on this issue at a state level, the decision brings comfort and equality to all members of the LGBTQ+ community nationwide.
Three days later on June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program cannot be rescinded at this time, making it possible for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients to maintain their temporary protections under the DACA program and allowing thousands more to apply for protections under DACA. While the SCOTUS decision protects DACA, the ultimate fate of the program is uncertain until permanent legislation is voted into law.
IACAC joined an organizational sign-on opportunity for a letter directed to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services immediately following the SCOTUS DACA decision. The letter called on DHS/USCIS to immediately reinstate DACA as it was implemented in 2012, put in place a robust outreach and education program, and work with the Senate to immediately pass the American Dream and Promise Act. On July 28, the acting director of the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo declaring that they would not be accepting new DACA applications and would shorten the renewal period from two years to one. This news reminds us that the fight is nowhere near over.
While the month of June brought victories and historic moments on issues that IACAC has long supported, the work towards equity continues. Social change is an on-going process and requires us to work on ourselves as individuals and in our communities. If you need a place to start, we encourage you to join one or both of our committees.