We stand with Gaspar (Official)

L.A. Times article: http://lat.ms/29AbnfO

There are few moments in life that are a powerful as witnessing folks from all walks of life uniting for social justice. The power of the people is truly awe inspiring!

Since the article went online a few days ago, tho outpuring of support for Gaspar has been tremendous. We could not be more proud of this young man for being such an exemplary student and ambassador for undocumented students; a demographic that is all too often vilified and misrepresented in the media. 

Together with Gaspar, we will be setting up a college/ savings account that will be used for him to advance his education and supplement his income. Although Gaspar wants to continue working, he hopes it can now be on a weekend-only basis so that he can focus full time on his studies and maybe even one of the internships offered to him. He will also be launching a seperate Facebook page for everyone to follow his progress and continue providing him such invaluable moral support. 

Gaspars's work ethic is only rivaled by his generosity. His forgoing of food from the school pantry so that someone that needed it more could be fed is but one of the many examples of his selflessness and moral compass.  At Gaspar's request, 50% of the money raised will go towards assisting some of his classmates at Belmont and Casa Libre get a leg up in order to be able to focus on their studies. This will mean securing representation to address their immediate legal needs and eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), asylum, and other forms of immigration relief. We will also be providing scholarships for recent graduates of Casa Libre (and friends of Gaspar) that have continued on to places like Cal Arts, Humboldt State, San Francisco State, and CSUN. Every dollar pledged will go directly to providing invaluable assistance for our unaccompanied students who are leading by example. 

It really takes a village and we are honored that you have all decided to to become part of ours. Although we do not shy away from taking our message to the streets, we know that another equally powerful tool at our disposal is our example. As our students receive the empowerment and support necessary (for any teenager), we will see more college-bound graduates from this demographic changing the perception of who unaccompanied students are and dispelling the myth that they are somehow predisposed to be cheap manual labor. 

On behalf of Casa Libre, our students, and our entire immigrant community, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of you for your generosity and support. One of the biggest hurdles for our students to overcome is the feeling of being completely alone in a city that can be as unforgiving as Los Angeles. Having the entire city, and many others across the nation stand with Gaspar and unaccompanied students like him really helps to recognize and validate their efforts. Mil Gracias y SIJS se puede!


Federico Bustamante


Federico Bustamante Johnson
Los Angeles, CA

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