Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager, with contributions from Erika Heikkinen, Children, Youth & Families Program Intern.
This October, the U.S. Department of Education released Supporting Undocumented Youth, a resource for educators, counselors and school leaders that aims to highlight the challenges undocumented youth face in pursuing their education and to equip educators with the knowledge and tools to advocate for these students. The report addresses legal concerns, as well as practical issues like financial aid eligibility and student records, and also provides tips for educators to promote safe and supportive learning environments where diversity is celebrated and all students have a chance to succeed.
While this resource isn’t specifically geared toward LGBTQ youth, it is important for advocates to remember that undocumented youth are some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community. Lessons like these are critical to the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth of all backgrounds, which is why diversity and an appreciation for the intersecting identities present in the LGBTQ community are central to programs like HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools and our annual youth well-being conference Time to THRIVE.
“When we’re trying to address the needs of LGBTQ youth, we have to realize that they aren’t just one-dimensional,” explains Vinnie Pompei, Director of HRC’s Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE. “So many of these youth face other major challenges––racism, poverty, family rejection––and many of them are undocumented, which can create further barriers to education, healthcare and employment. We have to address their needs as whole people, not just one of their identities.”
For more information on HRC’s Time to THRIVE conference, coming up in February 2016, visit www.timetothrive.org.