As students returned from Thanksgiving break, they reported to teachers by Zoom that they are hungry and unable to leave the house because they are sick with coronavirus. Some families cannot buy food, and they are feeding themselves on the student meals given out by the district. In the past few weeks, families reported that they have been out of work for so long that they cannot pay the 25% of their rent required by the eviction moratorium.
Most grant recipients are in the process of getting their immigration status, or are experiencing a complication in the asylum process due to Covid. The families live in East Oakland, a Covid hotspot, where immigrants have contracted Covid at a disproportionate rate due to tightly packed living quarters and unregulated jobs. They are working through the laborious immigration court system, and do not have the same safety nets provided to other members of our community. Food stamps can negatively affect their immigration status, stimulus checks will not be granted to them, their jobs do not offer health care benefits or time off -- they are day laborers, restaurant & food stand workers, cleaners. Even families who have received asylum cannot receive unemployment because they have a short documented work history in the country. They have experienced drastically reduced employment opportunities at this time, in Spring, and in many cases, since the first shelter in place order.
Our students immigrated to the US in the past 3 years from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Yemen, American Samoa, and Tonga. They are actively engaged (eagerly, with all cameras on!) in distance learning despite the challenges. Our students are celebrating huge growth in their English skills, and their language and tech literacy grow every day. They build community online and seek knowledge about themselves and the world. Their families face unbelievable challenges to get to Oakland, and they are our partners in their children's education and wellbeing.
Thank you for donating/sharing our campaign to support our students and their families.