Activism, Social Justice, and Special Events

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Activism, Social Justice, and Special Events

IUME's goals are very much centered on research and community outreach, yet, it is also important to be a leader in pursuing social justice and advocating for certain causes that should be the foundation behind research and community outreach. For this reason, we have also made it a priority to proudly support a number of causes relating to social justice and/or ideas that we feel deserve attention. As a Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, we understood our leverage and privilege and thus, hope to standing behind the causes and issues that inform our practice.

Check out below some of our recent events and if you or your organization have a cause that fulfills our mission of pursuing social justice, don't hesitate to contact us at

IUME Visiting Fellow: Sean Arce | Banned in Arizona 

On November 11th, Sean Arce, Former Director of the Mexican American Studies Department at Tucson Unified School District and current Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona, visited Teachers College to update the community on HB2281 (the bill that banned ethnic studies in Arizona) as well as share his wealth of knowledge about educating Chicana/o-Latina/o youth.

This is Mr. Arce's second visit to IUME and Teachers College, following his visit in 2011-2012 for the Precious Knowledge event (see below). 

For more information, please visit

Exploring International Education -- A Talk with Costa Rican Minister of Education

October 10th, 2012, IUME--along with the sponsorship of the Office of the Provost and Dean of the College at Teachers College--hosted "Education Reform in Costa Rica: A Conversatio Costa Rican Minister of public Education, Dr. Leonardo Garnier." Dr. Garnier engaged a packed room of students, exploring educational issues in Costa Rica--and illustrating how they are quite similar to challenges in the United States. 

IUME Director Ernest Morrell introduced Dr. Garnier, as one of IUME's goals is also to expand the lens of education reform and reach out internationally as we collaborate and exchange ideas to improve the educational experiences of children.

Supporting Undocumented Students Pursuing Higher Education

September 25th, 2012
, IUME sponsored its first official event of the school year--a book talk for the newly released "Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement." The important issue of undocumented students continues to be an area that social justice advocates should continue rallying around and supporting, as this event featured an inspiration panel filled with moving discussion and information. For the first time in Teachers College history, undocumented and unafraid TC students introduced a ground breaking book; Undocumented & Unafraid, Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement. The book panelist included Professor Ernest Morrell, TC student Mariella Saavedra; UCLA Labor Center intern Sofia Campos, and the director of the UCLA Labor Center, Professor Kent Wong. We honored the lives of Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix. There was also a call to action to all educators to continue fighting along undocumented youth for human rights and higher education.

For more information about Undocumented and Unafraid, visit

Advocating for the NYS Dream Act at Teachers College, Columbia University

April 10th, 2012
, along with the Latino/a and Latin American Faculty Working Group, IUME sponsored an event featuring NY State Senator Bill Perkins and NY Assemblyman Guillermo Linares who spoke at Teachers College in Milbank Chapel. During the event, they each introduced the New York State Dream Act to the community following by discussion by a panel of Teachers College professors. It was a big, yet exciting, undertaking to get our State legislators to come to TC and it made for a great evening and a very full Milbank Chapel.

In addition, Assembyman Linares and this event was featured in the TC Newshere. In addition, visit the TC News link to the see the video of both the Senator and Assemblyman championing the NYS Dream Act (courtesy of TC Media).

Assemblyman Linaries is a TC alumnus, working at IUME during his tenure at Teachers College.

"Save Ethnic Studies" -- Informing the Public about the Injustices in Tucson

March 2nd, 2012, in partnership with a host of other activist-scholar institutions in New York City, IUME hosted "Tucson Teachers Speak Out" with Milbank hall packed to absolute capacity, as community members from all over New York City were sitting on stairs and standing in the back to hear Sean Arce and Maria Federico Brummer speak (two Raza Studies teachers from the TUSD) following the showing of the powerful documentary "Precious Knowledge." Centering on a screening of the critically-acclaimed and immensely powerful documentary Precious Knowledge, the plaintiffs of Arizona HB 2281 spoke to a jam-packed, standing-room-only crowd inside Milbank Chapel at Teachers College. It was an incredible event and thank you to those who were a part of it--we raised both money and awareness for this injustice of human rights.
This event brought massive awareness to the "Save Ethnic Studies" awareness, in addition to raising thousands of dollars in support of ethnic studies, rocking the New York City area like never before at Teachers College. 

The following morning, Sean and Maria led a Teach-In at IUME's Gordon Campus to share their successful curriculum that they developed at TUSD.