ISSUES

Leading Voices Gather to Launch Dr. Felecia Russell’s Amplifying Black Undocumented Voices


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2024
Contact: Jason Koh at Jason@presidentsalliance.org or author, Felecia Russell at felecia@presidentsalliance.org 

Leading Voices Gather to Launch Dr. Felecia Russell’s Amplifying Black Undocumented Voices

Washington DC —Thursday, April 25, 2024- The UndocuBlack Network and The Presidents’ Alliance proudly co-launched Dr. Felecia Russell’s groundbreaking book, “Amplifying Black Undocumented Voices.” The timely event, held at 12:00 pm EST on April 25, 2024, drew over 200 people registered from grassroots organizing, academia, and policy-making spheres to shed light on the experiences and challenges faced by undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Moderated by Presidents’ Alliance executive director Dr. Miriam Feldblum, the event featured author Dr. Felecia S. Russell in conversation with UndocuBlack executive director Patrice Lawrence, best-selling author Julissa Arce, Rothschild Social Impact Fellow Christopher Rivas, and Loyola Marymount University assistant professor Dr. Keisha Chin Goosby.

There are an estimated 619,00 undocumented Black migrants living in the United States. The event’s goal was to celebrate the launch of a groundbreaking book, Amplifying Black Undocumented Student Voices in Higher Education, which centers the author’s own journey and the story of 15 other undocuBlack immigrants. Highlighting the urgent need for action, to promote undocuBlack voices. “Black immigrants are erased from the discussion of unlawful immigration and border security–they are then subject to racially motivated laws aimed at ceasing the Black population within America, which also results in invisibility,” Felecia Russell reminds.

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director of The Presidents’ Alliance, shared: “Felecia’s research and recommendations on Black undocumented students are a crucial contribution to higher education. Black undocumented students constitute approximately 14% of all undocumented students in higher education, and recognizing the diversity of undocumented students, and understanding the distinctive needs of Black undocumented students is vital to supporting these students’ access, equity, and success to and through higher education and beyond.” 

Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director of the UndocuBlack Network adds: “With over 50 countries in Africa and Black diaspora communities spread across the Caribbean, Latin and Central America, and beyond, Dr. Felecia’s book is significant and a reminder for all  about our Black diversity in the U.S. We know the intersections of race, immigration status, and gender demand holistic approaches in advocacy and support. This is why UndocuBlack believes in creating and identifying possibilities for our people while holding their intersecting identities at the forefront.”

In his endorsement of Dr. Russell’s book, University of Pennsylvania professor Roberto G. Gonzales described it as “compelling in its approach” and “essential reading for educators and policymakers alike.”

The event concluded with Dr. Russell noting, “It is critical that we amplify Black undocumented voices, as we will remain invisible if we do not.”

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Dr. Felecia Russell serves as Director of the Higher Ed Immigration Portal. Dr. Felecia Russell identifies as a Jamaican-borned, American-raised, Black Woman. She is also DACAmented. Her research agenda explores the experiences of Black undocumented students and the intersections of race and immigration status. She is also an adjunct professor at California Lutheran University where she teaches and writes about undocumented students, educational leadership, and undocuBlack methodologies. She is also the founder of Embracing Undocumented, an online platform focused on releasing stories about undocuBlack people.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university leaders and institutions together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. As the only national organization exclusively focused on the intersection of higher education and immigration, we work to support immigrant, international, and refugee students and to advance forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus levels. The Alliance membership is composed of over 550 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 42 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The UndocuBlack Network is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access resources and contributes to transforming the realities of our people, so we undocumented Black immigrants are thriving and living their fullest lives.