On Wednesday August 10th, Puentistas and UMOJA members from Los Angeles Trade Tech organized with former Puentistas, East Los Angeles College Puentistas, and Region VII to address their concerns to the Board of Trustees for the closure and inconsistency of needs met for both programs. Puente and UMOJA have both successfully funneled their members through community college to provide a pipeline of success for transfers and professional development throughout the years.
More than 20 students attended the Board of Trustees meeting and gave testimony for the importance of both programs.
Ryan Navarette, a former LATTC Puentista expressed his gratitude for the program as a UC Davis transfer, "I have the motivation, they have the resources."
Puente Students have successfully collaborated and raised money for AB-540 students, visit different UC and Cal State Campuses, provided academic counseling for non-traditional and first-generation students, and most importantly created a safe space for students to form a community of scholars to segway into 4-year institutions. Currently, the Puente Program does not have a full-time counselor/advisor. This has displaced current students from graduating the three-phase program and will hinder the opportunities of current Puentistas to go on 4-year university trips and receive academic counseling that is vital for transferring.
The UMOJA Program focuses on academic success by reinforcing the educational and academic experiences of African Americans and other students through academic counseling, professional training, seminars, and conferences. On March 17, 2015 UMOJA successfully signed an agreement with 9 historically black colleges and is now collaborating with HBCU to guarantee transfer for those who are in the program. UMOJA students asked to establish a consistency with the Student Success Task Force Recommendations and be provided with a full-time coordinator. Many members expressed their concerns with the previous allocation of funding and are demanding a 3rd party audit for missing expenses.
Both Programs provide structure and foundation for others who have gone through similar walks of life and humbling experiences. Both "are given extensive training in culturally responsive pedagogy and practices" and have impressive retention rates. UMOJA and Puente students will continue their efforts with administration to make sure the future generations of students are given an opportunity to succeed and most importantly, provided the resources and advisors they deserve. Students have expressed that both programs changed their lives and helped them pave a future filled with prosperity for not only their families, but their community.
Attached below are links to connect to both programs: