Meng So is the first director of the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley, coordinating efforts to respond to the needs of first generation, low-income, and undocumented students. He was part of Immigrants Rising’s Educator Action Group from 2011 to 2012, and currently serves on the Leadership Council.
How did you first learn about our organization?
I initially got involved through the Educators Action Group, which seems like a relic now. A group of Bay Area educators would meet at Kathy’s apartment in the city potluck style and talk about what we could all do to better serve undocumented students. It was a space where we could be angry, sad, afraid, hopeless, joyful, excited, courageous, hopeful, all out loud together.
Why did you join the Leadership Council?
Part of the reason that educational equity for undocumented students has advanced so far in California is because of the transformative work of E4FC [Educators for Fair Consideration, now known as Immigrants Rising]. I wanted to be apart of that magic to better understand how we can spread that secret sauce to more pockets of the state and the nation.
Why do you think our work is important right now?
E4FC is a place for compassionate human possibility — where no person is illegal, where our students are valued and loved for their intrinsic human dignity and not denied opportunity based on their lack of U.S. citizenship.
What are your concerns for our organization?
The vicarious trauma and immense emotional toll this work has on individuals within the organization. Through it all, I hope that is E4FC is able to find silver lining in defeats, prioritize individual and collective wellness, always be willing to celebrate accomplishments, and learn from mistakes while having fun along the way.