YOUR DREAM, GOING TO COLLEGE. OUR GOAL, MAKING IT HAPPEN.
FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS TO BIG DREAMS
What we're about
At United for Social Justice, we are committed to helping first generation high school students (including undocumented students) to achieve their dream of higher education. Our Road to College Program is composed of:
- workshops by experts on the college application process,
- guidance by trained mentors who know the college experience,
- scholarship opportunities, and
- a network of support or family—a group of people who share the same dreams and goals.
If college is your dream, we want to help you too!
Hugh A. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Award
We are honored to announce that the Hispanic Bar Association-DC selected United for Social Justice (USJ) as the recipient of this year's Hugh A. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Award. This award recognizes a DC area organization with unwavering commitment to and achievement of the principles of equality, cultural respect, and social justice.
USJ is committed to helping undocumented and first generation students to access higher education. In the past 12 years, we have helped over 540 students in their higher education journeys, and we have awarded 70 scholarships to our students for college books. We help our students by offering monthly workshops on the college application process, one-on-one mentoring by college students and professionals, scholarship opportunities, community service, and a network of support.
We recently started another program in Spanish called Yo Soy Poder/I Am Power for recent arrival students. This program provides mentoring, workshops, and resources to students who recently arrived at the U.S., have survived traumatic events, and are seeking asylum in the U.S.
Undocumented students are faced with a harsh reality—a reality that forces them to work part-time after school to support their families or babysit their little siblings until their parents return home. These students are bright, but the odds are against them—having no one at home to guide or encourage them to go to college and witnessing a dire need for money to survive every day. Many of these students grow up in communities where gang activity, school truancy, and teen pregnancy are a constant.
On top of this, higher education institutions in the U.S. are failing undocumented students either by directly or constructively prohibiting access to higher education by restricting funding and charging undocumented students triple the tuition. Furthermore, although some states like Maryland and Virginia have changed their laws to give undocumented students, who are long-time residents of their states, in-state tuition, this does not protect recent arrival asylum seeking students and overall, continues to fail undocumented students because their financial needs are dire.
Thank you to all the boards of directors, mentors and volunteers in the past 12 years. This award is dedicated to undocumented and first generation students who fight for their dreams.