Undocumented Students: Illegal but not Criminal

Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown
Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown

by Dave Waddell

Given the nauseating, demoralizing politics that overshadow the complex family issues of illegal immigration, I was heartened to read of the Obama administration’s intentionally laissez-faire treatment of students who were brought to the United States unlawfully as children.

To me, the best way to counter the demonization of all illegal immigrants, including these students, is to put a human face to their plight. So I’d like you to meet “Alicia,” my student.

I put quotation marks around the name because it is an alias. I would prefer to use her real name, but she fears being identified, despite the fact that students like her are increasingly stepping up and speaking out. Alicia was conditioned by her family to not “rock the boat.” That’s understandable when a wrong move could result in detention and deportation.

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What’s In a Name?

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Chico writer Alexa Valavanis wrote the following column in response to the Aug. 4, 2010 ruling by a federal judge overturning California’s gay-marriage ban.

by Alexa Valavanis

Judge Vaughn Walker doesn’t know my name. I’ve never written him a letter or rang his smart phone. We’re not colleagues or acquaintances or even Facebook “friends.” In fact, there’s a strong possibility the judge and I would defy the theory of “six degrees of separation.”

Which is a long way of saying the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in California, nominated by George H.W. Bush, doesn’t know anything about me. He doesn’t know I value my family and faith above all else. He doesn’t know how deeply I cherish being an American and the individual rights and freedoms both of my grandfathers fought for.

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Dance of Passion Demands Patience, Control

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photo by Erik Aguilar

by Tania Flores

I was introduced to flamenco by a blood-letting, like a tailored and sharply-cut red dress whipping out from the back of my head. I was introduced by a woman who had my name, who called herself La Tania, who marked the end of the time when the purity of ballet was enough to contain my six years of age. I watched her dance in Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium, my head wrapped in a turban of white bandages. Wearing my ballet tights and leotard, I had cracked my head open earlier that afternoon on a cold, metallic bathtub rim. La Tania’s resounding footwork helped stem the flow of the hysteria and screams, and transform them into echoing syllables.

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Class of ’09: Spend Your Pennies Wisely

by Tania Flores and Oliver Wong

People inhabit the Earth. These simple, inconsequential creatures mow lawns, collect knick-knacks, walk aimlessly, climb trees (sometimes even fall out of them), and bleed. Some people throw things, such as footballs, fits, and paper airplanes. They might also read books, pick flowers, or join gangs.

People love to run around and dance, create music and harmony. But they also enjoy making bombs and destroying lives. And for some unfathomable reason, they hardly ever use public pay phones anymore. People are obsessed with discovering the unknown, they are afraid to make mistakes, foolishly think that pillars can make them strong. They drink water, blow up balloons, laugh, and learn to recycle. Some people smoosh themselves under vending machines, others contract diseases. People create cures, and support groups. Sometimes people trip and fall flat on their faces, and sometimes they catch themselves before they make that fatal downward plunge. People tend to embarrass themselves more often than not, but they learn to laugh at themselves later in life.

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Chillaxin’ in California

by Denise Minor

When people learn that I teach Spanish linguistics, there is often an automatic assumption that I am a strict grammarian. They picture me drilling students on the correct verb conjugations and becoming exasperated with their lack of comprehension of the difference between subject pronouns and indirect object pronouns. Sometimes, just to make conversation and show their commiseration, they complain about the way kids these days talk and their declining knowledge about proper language use.

In that moment I often have to weigh whether or not to reveal the truth. I have to decide whether it is worth telling them that I actually love to listen to the way kids these days talk and that I care very little about proper language use in conversation. I DO care about teaching them “proper” language for academic writing and classroom presentations. Without mastery in those formal writing and speaking skills, many professions will be closed to them.

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