Voces del Ma§ana Supports Undocumented Students

Tamara Baskin

Voces del Ma§ana, which translates from Spanish as Voices of Tomorrow, supports the nearly 300 undocumented students on campus.
The club has been active for three semesters and received the Most Outstanding Club Award (MOCHA) in 2006 for the spring and fall semesters. MOCHA, which is nominated by the 35 registered clubs on campus, Inter-Organization Committee (IOC), is an award that is given to the club that displays the most involvement on campus as well as in the community. Yazmin Moreno, who serves as co-president for Voces del Ma§ana, said that the club was first established by a group of five other students after attending the Summer Intensive Transfer Experience (SITE) program at UCLA.

Moreno, along with a few friends heard about the SITE program from Moreno’s brother, and decided to attend. SITE is a program in which prospective transfer students attend UCLA free of charge for a few days and participate in workshops informing them about various transfer information.

While attending the SITE program, Moreno and her friends met UCLA students who had formed a group called Ideas on their campus. Ideas, like Voces del Ma§ana, focuses on promoting awareness for undocumented students. After meeting Ideas, Moreno along with her friends were inspired to begin a similar club on the GCC campus, and in fall 2007 Voces del Ma§ana was established.

“We noticed that their was no other club here [GCC] like them, so we felt that we should start one ourselves,” said Moreno
Since their establishment, Voces del Ma§ana has evolved from being an idea to being an actual voice for the undocumented students on campus. They are not only active on campus, but many of the members also work with California Dream Network, which is another committee that supports higher education and awareness for undocumented students. Along with the Dream Network, club members are also involved in outreach toward potential AB-540 students in local High Schools.

According to Greg Perkins, EOPS Counselor and adviser to Voces del Ma§ana, there are around 290 AB-540 (undocumented) students enrolled at GCC. Among these students only about 10 percent of them are involved with Voces del Ma§ana. With this number of undocumented students on campus it is very important that they are aware of the networks like Voces del Ma§ana, which allow them to understand that they are not alone.
“Voces del Ma§ana plays an important role of being a mutual support group for AB-540 students on the campus” said Perkins.

As well as providing support, Perkins also feels that the club prepares these students for transferring. According to Perkins many past members have transferred to four-year schools like Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State LA. Students involved in the club are strongly encouraged to form study groups, as well as participate in various transfer programs.

AB-540 students, were recognized after a ruling on Jan. 1, 2002. The bill allows any student that wants to attend California public colleges and universities to pay the in-state fees, but they are not eligible to receive any type of financial aid. Since these students usually do not have many other financial alternatives to pay for college, school expenses are a serious issue for them.

One major alternative for these students to afford school is through scholarships. According to the scholarship office, most scholarships do ask students’ legal status.

Voces del Ma§ana also offers scholarships through fund-raising efforts like a burrito sale held on April 2. There is also a car wash planned for later this semester.

The club has a long-range plan of holding informational conferences for AB-540 students.

Although the name of the club is Voces del Ma§ana, Moreno wants students to understand that the it is not only for students of Hispanic descent but is open to all students who are interested in establishing better recognition for undocumented students.
The club meets in LB 220 on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, contact Greg Perkins at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5571.