A grassroots, environmental justice organization based in San Francisco’s Mission District

Juan Segundo

PODER member Juan Segundo has become an outspoken activist for immigrant rights on the San Francisco City College campus. He credits PODER with helping him become a strong leader in his community.

PODER has helped me gain organizing skills that were not taught to me in high school or college. PODER has helped me gain confidence and stand up for issues that really affect my community, especially issues around immigration.  These skills include public speaking, event planning, facilitation, coalition building, networking, and being able to communicate effectively with a target audience.

These skills have recently helped me fight for, obtain, and maintain a resource center open to immigrant students at City College of San Francisco (CCSF).  I did this work as a member of Students Advocating for Equity (SAFE), a club of AB-540 students that came together to empower all immigrant students to thrive and survive and continue with their aspirations to achieve higher education. (Note: AB-540 is a California law that allows many students to pay in-State tuition at public colleges and universities, regardless of their immigration status.)

With SAFE, we were able to get the City College Board of Trustees to allocate $300,000 to create Voices of Immigrants Demonstrating Achievement (VIDA), a student center that serves low-income and students of color at CCSF.  Through VIDA, immigrant students will be able to receive internships and scholarships to finance their education while they learn the skills and gain the experience in the areas of interest based on their career goals.

I am thankful for PODER because if it was not for them I would not be doing the things that I am doing now.