If you go

What: RISE spring symposium: “Bridging Borders: Overcoming Oppression Through Solidarity”

When: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. today

Where: Wittemyer Courtroom in CU’s Wolf Law Building

Cost: free

More info:

Each year, Racial Initiatives for Students and Educators, a student group at CU, looks for a topic for their annual event raising awareness of social justice and education issues. Anti-immigrant policies in Arizona and other states influenced the symposium’s topic this year, “Bridging Borders: Overcoming Oppression Through Solidarity.”

Rebecca Beucher, an organizing board member for RISE, said that while these anti-immigration laws might not seem to be directly correlated to the field of education, they really play a large role.

“Anti-immigration legislation sends a message to youth and their families about who does and does not belong in the United States, and this has a direct impact on youth’s personal and academic experiences in school,” Beucher said.

She added that these laws also influence attempts to remove ethnic studies programs and overhaul curricula. Beucher said educators must understand what youth face outside of school and fight against practices that create educational disparities.

This year’s symposium, held today in the Wittemyer Courtroom in CU’s Wolf Law Building, features experts from across the country in panel discussions and breakout sessions.

Ruth Lopez, a RISE coordinating committee member, said interdisciplinary cooperation is key to discussing issues of social justice and race. Lopez said the field of ethnic studies and professors like CU’s Dr. Arturo Aldama, one of this year’s featured panelists, are helpful tools to learning more about race and equity.

“Thinking about how race might be a component of what we work on is something we always keep in mind,” Lopez said.

With the symposium, RISE members hope to reach out to undergraduates and others in the community to create a discussion that isn’t just for their fellow graduate students at CU, but for everyone.

“The hope here is that people will leave feeling inspired to continue the good work they may already be doing and also empowered to perhaps work differently through these new relationships they have forged,” Beucher said. “For those who are new to this work, I hope that people will become inspired to become more actively involved in the work of disrupting and crossing these borders.”

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