Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, composed of mainly undocumented student activists (often referred to as AB540 students after Marco Firebaugh’s assembly bill), form part of the solution. These full time students are pursuing degrees in a wide array of majors. R.I.S.E. members are not only advocates but they also act as a support network for current undocumented students at UC Berkeley.
R.I.S.E. was founded in 2006 with a handful of UC Berkeley students who were having a hard time pursuing their education because of their immigration status. Many were having trouble just making ends meet since tuition costs made things like eating cost prohibitive, thus ringing very chilling and real meaning to the expression “starving students.” As a consequence, these students decided to form a group to make sure that regardless of financial difficulties, there would not be a shortage of the bare essentials like food and shelter. With a scarcity in funding but an abundance of compassion, R.I.S.E. members started a meal and room sharing program. Thus, by sharing the resources these students had, the support network begun and has maintained to this day.
Through outreach to numerous talented, intelligent and hard working students in high schools and community colleges, R.I.S.E. wants to motivate them to apply to universities despite their immigration status. R.I.S.E. has organized DREAM Act rallies, immigrant rights marches and a seven day fast in front of the federal building in San Francisco in order to raise awareness, increase the base of support and mobilize the community. In addition, R.I.S.E. has talked to representatives in their district offices and in their Washington DC offices to increase their understanding and support of the immigrant student struggle.