What is Fuerza…
Fuerza is the youth leadership committee of Juntos, a Latino Immigrant community-led organization fighting for our human rights on issues such as education, labor, and immigration. Fuerza was founded in the fall of 2011 by student leaders in South Philadelphia to address these issues from a youth perspective. Fuerza youth identified the Latino drop-out rate in the city of Philadelphia as an issue to address as well as college access for undocumented youth. Juntos sees the importance of youth leadership and guidance in empowering our communities.
Many youth in our community have felt at one point or another discouraged by the education system. For immigrant youth, many have felt the burden of learning without knowing English, have struggled through underfunded schools, and have experienced depression and isolation when thinking of life after high school. For many youth applying to college is a daunting task and having a counselor to help through that process is a blessing. But when you are undocumented it becomes even more challenging; you have many questions. What most youth in Fuerza have experienced is not far from the experience of most undocumented youth in our city… many counselors do not know how to support them. They are not clear on what rights these youth have to a college education and how to navigate the application and financial process to obtaining a college education.
Latino youth in Philly come from many different experiences; some were born here, some came to the US as young children, and some recently arrived.