SPC Alumnus Support First Dreamers

February 7, 2018

Public Information Officer


St. Philip’s College students are preparing now to promote college completion as participants in the 2018 City of San Antonio César Chávez March for Justice in March. Traditionally led by members of the college’s Future United Latino Leaders for Change student organization, these students and faculty members have also been reaffirming support for the success of students who attend their institution with support of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act known as the DREAM Act, and one recent St. Philip's College and student organization alumnus recalls the moment he supported the right to education for former outstanding St. Philip’s College students who were two of the nation's first high profile Dreamers.

The bipartisan 2001 legislative proposal furnished permanent residency to the special population of students who grew up in the U.S. and elected to give back by completing college or military service to enhance America’s future economic or national security. When the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama discontinued the federal government’s previous practice of deportation for this special population in 2012, the legacy of the DREAM Act enhanced the St. Philip’s College experience for several students. Through the 2012 initiative of the college’s Future United Latino Leaders of Change student organization members, three St. Philip’s College students---Rudy Padilla, Yessica C. Vazquez and Stephanie Vazquez---spoke to the national press on Sept. 12 of 2012 on the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial in support of the DREAM Act in 2012.

Padilla recalls how Yessica and Stephanie then made college history later in 2012 when both sisters were among the nation's first to receive pledges of federal support to complete college through the DREAM Act. Padilla went on to become the second student to ever serve as a trustee alternate on the board of a community college system in Texas (May 6, 2014-April 30, 2015) as part of his St. Philip’s College experience, and he shared the following transcript of his 2012 Lincoln Memorial statement.

Good evening. My name is Rudy Padilla; I am a Culinary Arts Major and the current Vice- President of the Student Government Association at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio Texas, which is our country's only dual credited college in both being a historically black college and a Hispanic serving institution. I am truly honored to be here tonight to talk a little bit about the Dream Act and what it means to me since the subject ties into one of the issues that I hold dearly to my heart which is education.
Education is one of the founding building blocks that our great nation was built on. Without it, we would not have the knowledge we need to compete in our world. It is not a privilege but a necessity. One that we often take for granted everyday of our lives, yet it’s being denied to people just because their families comes from another country. Every person who seeks an education is doing so in order to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. The more people who live in our nation and have a good quality education, the more opportunities this nation and its people will have now and in the future.
When I first began my own journey in education, I too had a goal of improving my own life. The knowledge, experiences, and opportunities made available to me as I continued my education have not only improved my own life at this point, but now I am also able to, as a student leader, effect, change and impact the lives of others on my campus, in my community, and on the national stage here today.
So remember, no-matter what your personal goals are that you want to achieve in your lives, the sky is the limit. So think big, aim high and never give up on your hopes and dreams.
In the words of both the late and great Cesar Chavez and our President of the United States Barrack Obama, in the name of student success and education, I say to you:

"All three of us were able to give our own speeches in front of the press and a gathering both in front of the Triangle and on the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial," Padilla recalled." The big Dream Act Rally was led by the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Education Foundation to help support the movement in the name of student success and education as practiced here at our school," recalled Padilla.

Yessica Vazquez spoke to a reporter for the 2012 Houston Chronicle story Texas on the Potomac - Washington news with a Texas accent - Texan Democrats rally at Capitol for DREAM Act, immigration reform http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012/09/texan-democrats-rally-at-capitol-for-dream-act-immigration-reform/. According to the report, Among those on the tour was Yessica Vazquez, a 20-year-old San Antonio resident who immigrated to America when she was 5. She moved with her sister, Stephanie, and her mother to live with her father. They only planned on staying a year, but now Yessica and Stephanie, 18, don’t want to leave. The sisters attend St. Philip’s College in San Antonio through state grants and scholarships. Yessica plans to transfer to the University of Texas at San Antonio. “We’re here to seek an education and opportunity,” Yessica Vazquez said. “My dream is to be here and serve my country. This is the only place I know.”