Undocugraduation Report

On the drive over to Raleigh, I found myself eager with anticipation and a tinge of nervousness. I had heard bits and pieces about Adelante's Undocugraduation, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or what my role, as a student who has not been directly impacted by lack of access to in-state tuition, could be. Soon after we arrived and the event began, it became clear that there is a space for all voices in the fight for tuition equity in North Carolina. Undocumented and DACAmented students' powerful stories, alongside the words of experienced activists and supportive legislators, made the point loud and clear: we all lose when passionate young North Carolinians are barred from pursuing their dreams.

The beauty of Undocugraduation shone through in the little moments: the murmurs and nervous energy during our lobby training that turned to confidence and self-congratulation as groups from different counties spoke about experiences meeting with our legislators in the afternoon debrief session; the note of pride in students’ voices as they shared their educational accomplishments and dreams for the future at our symbolic graduation ceremony; and, of course, the laughter and dancing that punctuated our final celebratory lunch of pupusas and pastel de tres leches. I feel honored to contribute my voice to the great big noise we made for tuition equity for ALL North Carolina students.

In the words we chanted as we marched past the General Assembly:
“This is what democracy looks like… ¡el pueblo unido jamás será vencido!”

– Erin Hazlett-Norman,
SAF Summer Office Intern