Tag Archives: AOCC

HGSE’s Alumni of Color Conference 2015!

Despite the whirlwind that has been the past 2 months, I have continued to embrace the amazingness that HGSE is. Classes are incredible this semester, and extracurricular activities are equally as compelling. This past weekend, I had the pleasure to see the fruition of the Alumni of Color Conference. In it’s 13th year, the AOCC offers a space for communities of color and allies to address grave societal issues that continue to impact our education system. Whether it’s the school to prison pipeline, the repercussions of Ferguson on our young people, bullying, or a myriad of other issues, AOCC gives a space for these discussions to emerge in an academic and intellectually freeing format.

As a co-lead for the Youth Engagement Committee (see below), I had the pleasure of seeing the culmination of our Committee’s hard work from the last few months. We brought 80 young people to campus who spoke truth to power! They spoke about feelings of alienation in school, struggles with identity, reflections on Ferguson, and so much more! Their voice reminded me of the importance of listening – we are never too educated or knowledgeable to stop listening, especially from the voice of the youth we hope to work for. If we don’t listen, who will?

The AOCC Conference will remain one of my favorite memories from HGSE because it has been instrumental in my own self-realization as a woman of color who must move forward with a deeper commitment to social justice, in practice as well as in name.

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Irteza Binte-Farid is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Education Policy and Management program.  Having worked for QuestBridge, an education non-profit which matches low-income, first generation students to great colleges within the US, Irteza continues to be interested in the experience of first generation students in college. In the future, she is excited to enter the field of Higher Education Policy.

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AOCC 2014 – A Moment to Reflect, Recharge, and Respond


“Fear paralyzes us but we have to turn it around to empower us…to just say, ‘Enough!’” – Gaby Pacheco, AOCC 2014 Keynote Speech

As is the nature of a one-year master’s program, there is a never-ending list of events, workshops, lectures, and conferences beckoning for our attention and participation. Selecting from the vast number of activities can be quite challenging but one event I whole-heartedly recommend to prospective students is the annual HGSE Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC). The AOCC’s mission is to bring together students, scholars, practitioners, and other leaders together to discuss the intersection between education, race, and class. This year’s theme was entitled “From Dreams to Movements: Education, Inequality, and Justice”.  As graduate students, I admit that sometimes I get lost in the pile of essays, group projects, and meetings during the semester and the AOCC was a much-needed surge of inspiration – a reminder to us educators that this is why we are here.

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Gaby Pacheco (center) with Professor Roberto Gonzalez and members of the H517 Contemporary Immigration Policy class. (From left to right: Stephany Cuevas, Krystal Rincon, Evelyn Quezada, Prof. Roberto Gonzalez, Gaby Pacheco, Pedro Navarro, Jessica Acosta, Victoria Villalba, Sheila Jackson)

Gaby Pacheco’s keynote speech moved me to tears. An immigrant rights leader and undocumented American, Gaby has played a central role in the immigrant youth movement. In 2010, Gaby and fellow youth immigrants organized the Trail of DREAMs, a march from Miami to Washington, DC in order to urge President Obama to stop separations of families and deportations of Dreamers. Gaby not only shared her courageous story but also touched on the power of community, “the power that we have as human beings to come together.”  Gaby’s speech has motivated me to continue exploring immigration issues not only in my immigration policy class, but across my courses and in my internship work with Boston college youth.

Jessica Acosta is Master’s in Education candidate in the Higher Education Program.  Deeply passionate about issues of race, equity, and college access, Jessica aims to gain knowledge and tools to promote a deeper understanding of multicultural issues and to help students of color strive towards academic success in college and beyond.

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