Inaugural edition, FALL 2014
THE HNBF REVIEW
Q&A With Marcos Davis, Deputy Director for The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Law Camp Alumni Share their #HNBF Experience Law Camp impact results
Table of Contents 2..................
Camper to Counselor: Alicia Nieves
Q&A with Marcos Davis, Deputy Director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Law Camp Alumni share their experiences.
Law Camp Statistics
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Law Camper to Law Counselor: Alicia Nieves The story of a former Law Camper and her life after the HNBF Alicia Nieves is a second year J.D. candidate at NYU School of Law, where she is a Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights Scholar. Alicia graduated with honors from Indiana University with majors in Political Science and Migration Studies. Her academic interests in college led her to research the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Latin American settlement in the American Midwest. Outside the classroom, Alicia assumed leadership roles in public policy campaigns that affected the Latino community. As an undergraduate, she co-founded a statewide student coalition to lobby for pro-immigrant state legislation, including instate tuition for undocumented college students. Additionally, Alicia interned with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, helping the organization’s campaign to register new citizens to vote. She also worked in Washington, DC with FWD.us, an advocacy group co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg to promote policies to keep the United States competitive in a global economy, including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform. For her public service work in college, she was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2012. At NYU Law, Alicia is currently the co-chair of LaLSA and a Staff Editor of the New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. She also works at a legal tech startup called Plainlegal. During her first year of law school, Alicia was awarded Ford Law Public Interest Fellowship to intern at the New Economy Project for the summer of 2014. She took time off from her internship to fulfill another dream she had since she attended Law Camp in 2009—to return on day and work as a Counselor.
Future Latino Leaders Law Camp Reflection It’s been over five years since I participated in the Future Latino Leaders Law Camp. When I reflect on that week between high school and college, I think about how the experience motivated me to become a lawyer. It gave me the opportunity to meet accomplished Latina/os who were using their legal education in both private practice and public policy. It was just the inspiration I needed as a first generation Mexican American to believe in my ability to succeed. I met a variety of successful Latinos, from a Latina who was crafting new legislation to the son of a farmer who became an attorney and was successfully managing his corporate law firm. Each day, I was exposed to amazing Latino lawyers who used their legal education in multiple and meaningful ways. These individuals confirmed that I too was capable of being admitted to a top law school. The Law Camp educated me on the steps necessary to obtain a law degree and demystified the process of becoming a lawyer. Law Camp taught me that preparing for law school begins at an early age. Now, I am a second year law student at NYU School of Law with a full-tuition scholarship. I can point to many reasons for my achievements like my family, my mentors, a passion for social justice, and my own determination, but it was also the Future Latino Leaders Law Camp that gave me the confidence I needed. I knew when I participated in the law camp in 2009 that I would someday go to law school, return to camp as a counselor and give back to the program that gave me such a head start. This past summer, I had the opportunity to do just that. Although I had already received a Ford Foundation Public Interest Law Fellowship to intern at the New Economy Project for the entire summer, it was important for me to find a way to rearrange my schedule so that I could take a week off and serve as a counselor. I hoped to inspire campers just as I had been inspired by my counselors. Having been in their shoes, I was eager to go back and tell them, “I did it, and so can you.” My week with Latino youth in Washington, DC with five other amazing law camp counselors was one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences that I’ve had as a law student. I shared my own experiences with 40 incredible teens and witnessed first-hand their transformations. It gives me great pleasure to know that I helped these young people become more excited and motivated to return to school with the belief that they can become attorneys if they work hard and study. Working as a counselor impacted me in a whole new way as well. I went into my week as a counselor with the intent to inspire campers and left inspired by them and the future we can create. I believe the Future Latino Leaders Law Camp program is critical for the legal profession. Beyond its powerful impact on students, it helps meet the growing demands for diversity in the field. The critical need for legal representation in the Latino community—in both the private sector and public institutions—will become increasingly important as the Latino population grows. The Latino Law Camp helps ensure that more Latino lawyers will serve this population and reflect this demographic change.
Q&A: MARCOS DAVIS
White House Initiative On Educational Excellence for Hispanics HNBF 2014 Awards Gala Keynote Speaker Interview provided by Andrew Lopez
Marco A. Davis joined the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics as Deputy Director in January 2012. The Initiative is charged with carrying out President Obama’s efforts to increase opportunities and improve outcomes in education for Hispanics of all ages, working directly with communities and key stakeholders nationwide to identify ways to strengthen and improve the Latino community overall. Based on more than 20 years of work in the public interest, Davis is a frequent speaker on the Latino community, youth, leadership development, and public policy. Prior to the Initiative, Davis served as the Director of Public Engagement for the Corporation for National and Community Service, where he led the President’s call to service initiative United We Serve, which includes the annual Martin Luther King National Day of Service and the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Previously, he served as Director of Global Fellowship and also Regional Manager for Latin America at Ashoka’s Youth Venture. From 1994 to 2006, Mr. Davis was a staff member of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. At NCLR, as Director of Leadership Development he created the Líderes Initiative and its Líderes Summit at the NCLR Annual Conference. While at NCLR, he also managed Encuentro 2000 – And Beyond, an annual strategic retreat for distinguished national Latina/o opinion leaders. Davis’ professional career began as a leadership development counselor for Prep for Prep, Inc. in New York City, and as a staff member at the Center for Third World Organizing in Oakland, California. Davis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Latin American Studies from Yale University, and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Originally from Mount Vernon, New York, he lives in the District of Columbia with his wife and daughter. Can you tell us a little about what you do in your current position?
Our mandate is to seek ways to increase opportunities and improve outcomes in education for Hispanics and we do this in three ways. We communicate and share information with a broad network of stakeholders that comprise of 45,000 contacts. We have a monthly newsletter, monthly webinars, we travel the country to give speeches, organize policy forums to tackle issues on latino education and share information on initiatives and goals. The Initiative shares information on federal student aid like the income based repayment plan along with filing civil rights complaints with the US Department of Education. Along with communication,we have something called the Bright Spots approach where we look for
called the Bright Spots approach where we look for and highlight programs, schools, and organizations that are achieving results in Latino education. We look to those programs to highlight that the aspects of latino education are not all negative and that there are people achieving results and success. We look for those who show what the results are of greater investment. We also take the information we learn and act as a liaison to the Washington community. We report back to the White House and Department of Education to make sure the Latino voice is heard. Now under these three areas we have seven sub areas that we focus on. These areas include: early childhood education, stem education, recruitment of hispanic teachers, college access, post secondary education completion, family engagement, and the President’s My Brother’s Keepers Initiative.
The Hispanic population is on the rise, so what does this mean for the future of our country?
Since the Latino population is on the rise this means the challenges, concerns, and educational gaps are critical to the nation. These challenges are no longer a concern for Latinos alone since a nation’s future economic strength depends on the workforce of everyone. The status of Latino workers in the future will certainly affect the economy. The more we can invest in high quality education the more we will all benefit. The President likes to say, “The future of the nation is linked to the future of the Latino community.” What problems face the Hispanic Community today?
The number of Latinos filling out FAFSA is below where it should be along with the number taking out pell grants and federal student loans. The U.S. Department of Education completed a civil rights data collection and surveyed every public school in the nation. They gathered an immense amount of data which included a wide range of information ranging from how challenging coursework each school offered to the racial makeup of an institution. We found that expulsion rates were typically higher for black and Latino students when compared to their peers. It is information like this that community leaders can use to identify problems in their specific communities and help them adjust their practices to close gaps.
Although the high school graduation rate and college enrollment rates among Latinos are up, they still have not reached that of their peers. We have an issue with students completing their post secondary degree as latinos are still far below their peers. Some studies say that the return on investment per dollar for early childhood education is 7:1. For us it is important not to look at the situation as all doom and gloom. The advocacy around the creation of the Initiative in 1990 (25th anniversary will be next fall and the theme will be Fulfilling America’s Future) was when the Latino drop out crises was on the rise. We need to look at the fact that the benefit of making investments in our education and talk about it in terms of an opportunity rather than a problem. Instead of just looking at investment in Latino education as just the socially moral thing to do, we should look at investment as the economically smart thing to do. We need an educated workforce to maintain a certain level of national security and to remain a safe and prosperous country. How should we go about solving these problems? We need to provide information for folks so they can find ways to identify resources. Although college enrollment is on the rise, college costs deter many students form enrolling in higher education.
Marcos speaking to Law Camp students at the 2014 Gala
Any final comments? Organizations like the HNBF can be useful because there is a tremendous need for advocates since people who study and work around the area of the law are uniquely equipped to be a voice and perspective of underrepresented students. Serving as a voice for these students has a real tangible benefit. As the Secretary of Education says, “This is an all hands on deck moment and we need everyone to pull together to get the success and prosperity that we need.”
How the HNBF Changes Lives: Law CAMP ALUMNI Andrew Lopez, Alumni Communications Liaison interviews Regina Brodell, Law Camp Class of 2013
Regina Brodell, a freshman at UCLA, firmly believes in assisting communities in need by engaging in public advocacy and action. During high school, Regina advocated to implement Rotary, a club built on service and leadership. Once that aspiration became a reality, she began working with other high schools in the area on international projects through Water for Sudan, an organization focused on addressing the lack of water resources in Southern Sudan. Convinced that knowledge is power, she brought awareness to thousands of villagers who suffer from water borne diseases like cholera, trachoma and river blindness. With the community’s help she was also able to raise thousands of dollars to build borehole wells. She hopes to inspire Latinos to believe that every individual has the power to act and make a difference.
Can you describe your HNBF experience? Law Camp was transformational! We meet individuals who have overcome barriers to achieve their aspirations of becoming a voice for their community. The attorneys and community leaders who speak to the students never let the possibility of failure destroy their determination or dreams. They teach us to see obstacles as opportunities to be stronger, not as hardships on which to dwell upon. More importantly, students are not told what to think, but are taught how to think, and are encouraged to develop their own unique opinions and ideas. Thanks to HNBF, I have the confidence and drive to continue strengthening my voice to assist those around me and in the Latino communities as I further my studies at UCLA this Fall. I am infinitely grateful for all that HNBF has done for me. How has the HNBF changed you?
The impact that the HNBF had on my life does not fall under the category of a “surface level change,” like changing my hair color or outfit, but rather of a much deeper level.
The change that took place was internal, eventually emanating to my outer appearance, producing a confident, proud and driven young individual. The HNBF led me to understand that although you cannot control your circumstances or from where you come, you can control who you choose to become. With this understanding, I was able to finally advance forward and overcome the mental block I had prior to attending the program. Before Law camp, I had goals and visions laid out like train tracks but lacked the fuel to run the powerful locomotive. After Law Camp, I had the confidence in myself to be the powerful conductor of my life and realized that I was the fuel needed to advance forward to any destination.That is how HNBF specifically changed my life. It helped me gain knowledge and confidence. I left camp with the knowledge that through the power of education, aspirations and dedication, anything is possible despite barriers and circumstances. With that confidence, I was able to return home and externalize that component. The HNBF has fueled me to strive toward my aspirations and led me to believe that equality through education is in fact possible.
A message from Alba Villa, HNBF Executive Director The HNBF's Board of Directors and I felt it was important to profile Andrew in the inaugural edition of the HNBF Review. It highlights the incredible leadership abilities of our alumni. When Andrew was selected to serve as the Alumni Communications Liaison, we were impressed not only by how driven he was to succeed in school and explore professional growth opportunities, but also by how passionate he was about creating a community of leaders and advancing our mission. We can think of no better example of leadership and what our law campers are capable of achieving. In the year Andrew has worked with us, Andrew has spearheaded publication of the HNBF Review and an updated college guide, returned to volunteer at law camp, implemented procedures for class officer elections and helped us advance a comprehensive metrics project. His commitment is exemplary and we are honored to have him as part of our team.
Andrew Lopez, a freshman at George Washington University, is the HNBF’s Alumni Communications Liaison and Editor In Chief of the Foundation’s Review. In addition to the Foundation, he works for the National Housing Trust. Currently his work with the NHT involves developing sustainable urban agriculture in downtown Charlottesville and establishing after school tutoring programs for low income neighborhoods in Miami. Recently Andrew was selected as a Fellow for The Compass Fellowship in conjunction with The Kenneth Cole Foundation. The fellowship trains students who desire to start social ventures and connects them with potential investors across the country. Before coming to Washington, Andrew was an Oral English Tutor at Princeton University to International PhD candidates. Due to his high success rate, he was awarded The Princeton Prize in Race Relations last spring. His other prior experience involves working on senate campaigns along with serving other non-profits on a state and national scale. He is excited to work with the Foundation to expand educational opportunities for Hispanics nationwide. How did you get involved with the Foundation? I contacted the President of the HNBF at the time and expressed my interest in updating a few of the Foundation’s resources along with publishing an annual newsletter. The Board of Directors was extremely receptive to working with me and I’m proud to say we now have an updated College Guide along with this magazine. I’m also extremely excited to continue working on future projects because I have seen the impact first hand that these resources can have on individuals. What made you want to dedicate your time to the HNBF? I was fortunate enough to participate in the Foundation’s Future Latino Leaders Law Camp. Through the program I met various successful leaders and the HNBF educated me both inside and outside the classroom.
They really opened my eyes to what opportunities were out there.The HNBF became like a second family to me. I’ve never met a group of individuals (other then my parents of course) who were so invested in making sure that I succeed. I knew I had to be a part of the change that the Foundation makes in the lives of Hispanic youth. Can you tell us about your work with the Foundation? Sure. I am responsible for keeping alumni of our Future Latino Leaders in Law program connected to the Foundation, publishing the Foundation’s Review, maintaining social media presence, and anything else they ask of me. My work generally involves making sure that alumni of our program are connected to the Foundation throughout their entire lives. We want them to know we are here for them if they ever need anything.
How has the Foundation’s social media presence changed?
Can you elaborate more on the College Guide you worked on?
We are active on two social networks, Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, we introduced an entirely new design with enhanced graphics and modern fonts. This led to an increase likes and post reach. There was also a steady stream of new, positive reviews about the Foundation which led to an overall rating 4.9/5 stars. On Twitter, we have seen an increase in followers as well as user interaction. Twitter is harder to monitor since the company does not offer page demographics.
Going through the college process just last year, I know how stressful it can be. I found there to be a lack of simple, easy to follow resources online. The College Guide illustrates a year by year plan that students can follow in order to make them more competitive in the admissions process. There is also advice on searching for and picking a school as well. The Guide can be found on the Foundation’s website, hnbf.org, under the “Resources” tab. What has been your most memorable experience at the HNBF so far? I cannot pick just one. I would say seeing the faces of the program participants when they meet an influential leader or make a discovery in a case after hours of critical thinking. I love to see the ambition that is ignited in the participants. They come to the camp not really knowing what to expect and leave full of dreams and aspirations. On a more personal note, the Foundation has given me the opportunity to network with so many influential people that I honestly view as role models and friends. I cannot stress enough how life changing the Foundation’s work is. I really believe in the work that they do and I’m privileged to be able to be a part of it. Final comments?
Image of the Foundation’s Facebook page
I’m honored that I was chosen to be in the inaugural edition of the HNBF Review. Although, I think any past participant can do the job I am doing. It is really fulfilling to be apart of an organization that doesn’t just spark ambition, but successfully creates and develops the future leaders of this country.
Equality Through Education
Law Camp Statistics
Key findings from a recent survey of alumni who participated in the program in the last five years.
100% 100% High school graduation rate
college acceptance rate
Note data is based on class years 2009-2013 with a 80% response rate
60 different colleges and universities attended Sample of colleges attended
Arizona State University Columbia University Cornell University Dartmouth College Duke University George Washington University Georgetown University Harvard University Indiana University New York University Pepperdine University Pomona College Princeton University Rutgers University New Brunswick University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
Stanford University UCLA-University of California, Los Angeles University of California, Santa Cruz University of California, Berkeley University of California, Davis University of Colorado Boulder University of Florida University of Miami University of Missouri - Columbia University of Richmond University of Texas University of Washington-Madison Brown University Fordham University University of Virginia
camp alumni interested in working with the HNBF? The HNBF is looking for Class Representatives for each Law Camp class year. If you are interested or want more information please contact Andrew Lopez at email@example.com.