UCLA Labor Center

Immigrant Rights Activist Ju Hong Joins the UCLA Dream Resource Center

Ju Hong, Director of the UCLA Dream Resource Center

The UCLA Dream Resource Center (DRC), at the UCLA Labor Center, welcomes immigrant rights activist Ju Hong as the new DRC Director. With over a decade of experience in the immigrant rights movement and a commitment to justice, Ju Hong has a wealth of knowledge that will strengthen the DRC’s mission to empower immigrant youth and allies to be at the forefront of social justice movements.

As an alum of the DRC’s Dream Summer fellowship, Ju is happy to return to his roots at the DRC. “I was privileged to be part of the first cohort of Dream Summer fellows in 2011. Since then, I have been actively involved in the immigrant rights movement, organizing the community and advocating for immigrant rights issues. I am honored to return to the UCLA Dream Resource Center and serve as the new Director. I look forward to training and supporting the next generation of immigrant youth leaders across the country,” Ju said.

In 2013, Ju challenged former President Obama on his administration’s record number of deportations during a presidential speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco, California. His courageous action appeared on national and international media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and BBC News. Ju also contributed and published immigration articles on the Huffington Post, Korea Times, and Politico.

Ju often shares his immigrant story at conferences and universities to educate and inspire people to take action on immigration issues. The 2016 documentary Halmoni uplifts Ju’s experience as an undocumented immigrant from South Korea and his bold advocacy in the pursuit of justice for immigrants. From 2016 to 2019, Ju served as the Governmental Program Analyst at the Immigration and Refugee Branch of the California Department of Social Services, where he oversaw a $45 million immigration services budget that funds over 100 community-based organizations to provide legal services and education to immigrant communities throughout California.

Ju currently serves as a board chair of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), a nonprofit that organizes Korean and Asian Americans for social, economic, and racial justice. He is also a member of the Leadership Council of Immigrants Rising, an organization that provides resources and support to undocumented people so that they are able to build a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Ju also brings awareness to the unique stories of Asian undocumented individuals living in the United States through his podcast the ImmigrAsians.

With a strong background in the immigrant rights movement and an unwavering dedication to justice, Ju is an incredible asset to the UCLA Dream Resource Center. Ju is a leader who values teamwork and applauds the giants of justice who have led the DRC before him. “I am grateful for what my predecessor Anthony Ng has accomplished for the UCLA Dream Resource Center. I have big shoes to fill, but I am excited to work with our incredible team – George, Silvia, Kandice, Gaby, Jessica, and Salinas. I look forward to strengthening our staffing and programs, increasing our capacity to support immigrant youth further, and playing a critical role in the immigrant rights movement,” Ju said.

Immigrant Justice California Health Resource Guide

 

The Immigrant Justice California Health Resource Guide, from the UCLA Dream Resource Center (DRC) and UCLA Labor Center, connects immigrant and refugee communities—including uninsured and/or undocumented community members—to critical services that are affordable and accessible in the State of California. The resource guide provides a list of low-cost, culturally appropriate health care, domestic violence, and mental health services in the Central Valley, Inland Empire, Orange County, and San Diego regions of Southern California.

The guide is available in six languages: Amharic, Arabic, English, French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish. To download the guide, please click on the language you need below:

On December 6, the UCLA Dream Resource Center hosted a webinar to present the contents of the guide and discuss what organizations can do to get this guide to as many community members as possible. Watch the webinar at youtu.be/AZ44a0-QOhM.

Asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrant families face numerous barriers to accessing resources and services. Please share the resource guide and webinar with your networks to help spread the word about these critical services that our immigrant communities need. You can use the #ImmigrantHealthJustice digital toolkit to help spread the word. View the toolkit at bit.ly/ImmigrantHealthJustice.

Denise Panaligan, 2021-2022 DRC Alumni Council Member

Denise Panaligan, alum of the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s (DRC) 2013 Dream Summer fellowship, will serve as a 2021-2022 DRC Alumni Council member. Along with eight other council members, Denise will guide the DRC’s Alumni Network and advise the DRC staff team on programmatic priorities. The DRC Alumni Council will also lead professional and leadership development for alumni, while supporting and mentoring current DRC fellows.

Biography

Denise was born in the Philippines and raised in Koreatown (Los Angeles, CA). She is currently a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient and is passionate about immigrant rights, working with young people, and education. Her passion is a result of her lived experience as an undocumented immigrant. During high school, Denise did not receive the support she needed because her teachers did not know how to assist a student with an undocumented immigration status.

This traumatic event sparked Denise’s decision to work towards a world where schools can be a place of belonging and access to quality education is the norm, not the exception. Denise is currently working towards a doctorate degree in education leadership. Her dissertation focuses on eliminating racial disparities in school discipline through restorative justice, increasing resource equity for marginalized students, and sustaining civil rights protections.

Over the course of her academic and professional career, Denise has engaged in external affairs strategy, executed media relations, conducted policy analysis, and developed coalitions with diverse stakeholders. In October 2020, Denise was featured in a roundtable discussion for Fresh Off the Vote’s podcast episode, “Untangling Undocumented,” that examines how race and law work together to erase Asian Americans from the undocumented narrative. The roundtable also shared resources for audience members to complicate and untangle their notions of “legal immigration.”

Q&A with Denise  

Why did you apply to the DRC Alumni Council?

“During Dream Summer 2013, Yves Gomes, a fellow alum of the program, shared a quote with me from Yuri Kochiyama, ‘Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students.’ It was this quote and my interest in ensuring that decisions are grounded in the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion that motivated me to invest deeply in the DRC Alumni Council.”

What are you looking forward to the most as a council member?

 “I look forward to developing my expertise on immigration policy and being a DRC thought partner. The DRC’s Dream Summer fellowship was a catalyst in my life that enabled me to operationalize vision and develop strong organizational skills. I am excited to play a major role in supporting the DRC’s efforts in community education, partnerships, and fundraising.”