Unaccompanied child migrants from Central America and Mexico arriving at the U.S. southern border became national news in the summer of 2014. A multitude of front-page stories about the influx of unaccompanied children and youth traveling to the United States to seek refuge from horrific violence–rape, gang recruitment, and murder–in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico followed. Advocacy groups and UN agencies produced reports urging international protection for the children on the move. 

In Los Angeles, and more specifically Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the need to serve newcomer students was urgent. L.A. Unified officials alerted schools to be prepared for students who were afraid to enroll or who might have experienced separation anxiety, grief and trauma from witnessing or experiencing violence. 

Since the summer of 2014, over 5,500 unaccompanied minors have been reunited with family members or other adult sponsors in Los Angeles County according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

It is against this backdrop that the Center, in collaboration with Augustus Hawkins High School, is organizing ‘In Support of Newcomer Youth’, a community event to be held May 14, 2016 on the school’s campus located at 825 W. 60th Street in Los Angeles. Pulitzer prize winning author, Sonia Nazario, will headline the event sharing her work and perspective as a child advocate and shedding light on some of the experiences of the nearly 60,000 immigrant children who have already entered the United States seeking asylum in order to carve a better life for themselves and often for their families. 

The purpose of the event is to bring educators, community members and families together in a show of support of newcomer youth. The event will also offer several workshops facilitated by organizations such as KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles), the UCLA Dreamers and the newcomer community of Augustus Hawkins. Community based organizations will be on hand to provide information and resources that are critical to newcomer youth. Ultimately, the day is about providing a safe space to learn and hear from newcomer youth and build awareness of the supports that are available to them. 

The community event is free of charge. To attend, please click In Support of Newcomer Youth.

For more information, please call 213.250.1204 or email, eholton@PowerfulEd.Org.