Juntos Parents Urge You to Stand Up for Our Schools

On Wednesday February 27 parents and leaders from Juntos organized a protest to draw attention to the massive school closings using the unfair closing of Abigail Vare located in the neighborhood of Penn’s Port in South Philadelphia as an example of the district’s arbitrary decisions on the issue.

PCAPS March 7 2013 Flyer

A crowd of about 100 people made up of Juntos’ leaders, Vare parents, school staff, students and community members gathered outside Vare Elementary School located in Moyamesing Street, between Tasker and Morris. The crowd protested against the merging of Vare with Washington and the closing of 29 public schools in the city. Vare is schedule to move their program to the George Washington Elementary School building the next school year.

“I’m here because I feel very upset about the district wanting to close our school and the other 28 public schools in the city because the district’s arguments are false. Because they say that Vare is an old building. It is one of the better schools in the area that just needs some repair work on the roof and in the boiler” said Patricia Rodriguez, leader of Juntos.

Rodriguez’s son, age 7, is in his last year of kindergarten and if  Vare closes he would have to register at George Washington elementary schools which is located 12 blocks north and which would have to go walking alone risking his safety.

“The School District says they chose to close Vare because its building is old and in poor condition but instead the district’s website shows that the Vare building is one that is in the best condition in this area. In fact fixing Vare would cost $ 8,605,440 while schools in this area like Southwark will need $18,793,723 and
$12,971,107 for Sharswood ” said Martina Camacho, mother of a student enrolled in Vare.

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In addition, Abigail Vare Elementary School has had constant enrolment, has made its AYP for the past years and has the best math scores in the neighborhood.

“We’re not here to say that Vare should remain open and other school should close. What we are say is that we do not understand why the district wants to merge Abigail Vare with Washington  because they want to combine a good school with a school that needs support. By combining these two, you are taking the risk that the Vare program is going to decline and Wahington needs support instead of more kids and more problems”, said Adriana Arvizo, community organizer at Juntos.

In the end, Juntos’ leaders questioned the closing of Vare because it doesn’t meet the district criteria for closings whether there will be any interest in a piece of land in a gentrifying neighborhood.

Finally, Juntos’ leaders invited attendees to a mobilization to the School District building on March 7 at 3:30pm during the School Reform Commission final vote on the school closings.

Corazones Rotos Vigil

Luis Chavez, My Uncle,  I miss you.

Luis Chavez, My Uncle, I miss you.

At sunset on February 12th, Juntos gathered at the Aquí y Alllá mural in South Philly to create a visual statement on the destructive impact of current immigration policies on our families. The vigil was planned to coincide with President Obama’s State of the Union Address, two days ahead of Valentine’s Day, when he confirmed that immigration reform will be a priority in his second term. Of course, this political momentum has grown out of the tireless work, the demonstration of power, la lucha of our community.After cleaning up the area, our youth began lighting candles and tying “broken” hearts to the fence surrounding the mural; hearts filled with the names of loved ones in the community, who have recently been deported. Against this stunning backdrop, with huge red hearts beating against the fence, Juntos leaders spoke emotionally and powerfully about the need for an immigration reform that is both just and humane. Padre Orlando led us through a prayer and community leader Maria Serna spoke about the pain of separation as a wound that never heals, reminding us that no community should experience such suffering. Gisela Hernandez asked both the President and the public to think about the families behind the stories, and for those most affected by immigration policies to be part of the conversation about reform.  After speaking boldly about how communities are exploited and kept in constant fear under the threat of deportation, Jackie Gomez asked the crowd if they would join her to continue fighting for a more inclusive immigration reform, and was met with a resounding “Si!”. Speakers called for an immediate moratorium on deportations and a reform that does not divide us; a reform that respects the dignity and contributions of all immigrants, and acknowledges the root causes of migration. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the Juntos community is organized and ready for this fight.

Thank you to all who came out in support last night! A diverse crowd of around 60 people – including Juntos community members, neighborhood residents, and other allies and supporters – were present at the event. We were treated to delicious atole and ponche, a real treat on this chilly February night, supplied by Blue Corn Alianza and Los Taquitos de Puebla.

Check out Juntos’ photos from the event, and our statement on immigration reform here.
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In honor of Valentines Day, we are asking that you our show support and love to Juntos BY DONATING as we continue to fight for our community and for a fair and just immigration reform. On April 10 we will be mobilizing  buses from Philadelphia and Norristown to Washington DC to make our voices heard along with thousand of other communites across the nation to demand that our community be at the forefront of the immigration reform conversation. 

$20 pays for one seat on a bus
$100 pays for water for one of the buses
$250 pays for lunch and snacks for one bus
$1,000 covers the cost of one bus rental

We hope you can support us however you can and we look forward to updating you on how immigration shapes our for our community.



Juntos rallies against Philadelphia School Closures

Juntos rallied for a one year moratorium on the school closings at South Philly High

Last Tuesday January 29, Juntosalong with the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS), organized a rally outside the South Philadelphia High School to protest against the Philadelphia school district plan of closing 37 public schools. After the rally hundreds of community members, youth, kids, parents and teachers gathered at the High School auditorium for a meeting organized by the school district. Dozens of affected students, children, parents and teachers shared their concerns regarding the school closings and asked the district officials, including superintendent Hite and the SRC member Wendell Pritchett, for a one year moratorium. During the testimonies the audience shared concerns such as violence, children having to walk long distances, concerns over gentrification and exposed that the $28 million that the district is claiming they will save is not a real number.

Al Dia: Latinos en South Philly piden moratorio a cierre de escuelas

CBS/KYW: Teachers,Students and Parents Gather to Protest Closing of 37 Philadelphia Schools

Al Dia: Juntos organiza movilización en contra del cierre de escuelas

Juntos honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a weekend of action!


Juntos Leaders Speak at Annual AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Labor Rally

On Saturday, January 19, 2013, Youth Leader in Juntos Olivia Vazquez and Executive Director Erika Almiron opened the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ (AFL-CIO) annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Rally to honor the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington.  Hundreds of community members, workers, parents, young people, and labor leaders filled Independence Mall from numerous unions across the city, including the firefighters union and the teacher’s unions.  Juntos was there to speak on the impact school closings in Philadelphia will have on our community.  The Philadelphia School District is proposing to close 37 schools by the end of this school year and we demand a moratorium on the closing and a full impact study done.

Juntos stands with workers who fight for our schools, our communities, and who honor Dr. Martin Luther King by demanding we prioritize our families, communites, the education of our youth and workers over builiding more prisons, destroying public education, and deporting more families. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers said, “Have a moratorium on closing schools, let’s fix schools let’s make sure we invest in kids rather than de-invest,” Others who spoke included Pat Eiding, president of the AFL-CIO and Al Sharpton, former civil rights leader. Check out the American Federation of Teachers’ video of the rally.

On Saturday evening our Executive Director Erika Almiron was also a panelist at the Penn Law Latino Law Student Association (LALSA) conference entitled “Y Ahora Que?”  Erika spoke on immigration, education, and civic engagement on a panel called “Diversity among Latinos” which focused on the challenges and opportunities created by the diverse nature of the Latino community.

Juntos Open House

On Sunday, January 20th, Juntos had it’s 2nd annual open house to inform approximately 60 community members and allies who attended about the our work in 2012, as well as informing people of our plans for 2013. At the event we showed this video, which highlights our victories in 2012. Community leaders and Juntos’ staff presented the organization’s plans for 2013, these include: Fighting for national immigration reform that is inclusive of all our community and announcing a rally event on February 13th to kick off the fight, collaborating with other organizations in the city to defend the education of our young people, specifically in the fight to stop the massive school closures in the city, and Fuerza youth leaders’ campaign C.A.F.E (College Access for Everyone), which is focused on demanding a fair and equal process and access to college information at the city level for all youth regardless of immigration status, and asking for in-county/in-city tuition for all Philadelphia residents.

We are asking all community members and allies to come to South Philadelphia High on Tuesday, January 29th at 5pm, to support Juntos and other organizations in demanding a stop to the school closures! 

Juntos Youth Organizer Speaks at Rally for Community Love and Power

On Monday, January 21, 2013 One Love Movement, a community based organization that fights for the rights of the Cambodian Refugee Community in Philadelphia, along with other human and immigrant rights organization in the city, organized a March and Rally for Community Love and Power in honor of Martin Luther King Day. The day started with information sessions and workshops at FACTS Charter School. Workshops addressed the immigrant experience with a focus on the human rights aspect of the immigrant struggle in the city. Following the workshops, participants rallied and marched to LOVE park in Center City Philadelphia, where representatives from different organizations spoke out in support and urged people to come together for a human rights movement around immigration. Miguel Andrade, Juntos’ Youth Organizer, spoke about the need for our communities to come together and put aside our differences. “Dr.King once said “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools,” these words have never had so much meaning as today…this movement should not be about individual struggles but about the combined struggle of all of us a human beings,” said Miguel Andrade during his speech. We at Juntos believe that the concept of human rights should be at the core of all of our fights, after all immigrant rights are human rights.
For more information on upcoming events contact:
(215) 218 – 9079