April 5, 2016 – Aurora, CO – Yesenia Martinez is a first-year student at Community College of Aurora (CCA). In a YouTube video, she describes how she was born in America and what it was like when her father was deported to Mexico, leaving her with her mother in the United States. She also describes how she graduated from high school with honors and how her world has changed since attending college.
Yesenia’s story is just one part of many stories being told by CCA students during a two-week social media information campaign titled, ThankYouAmerica! Created by students attending the Community College of Aurora under the direction of Dr. Bobby Pace, chair of the Department of Social Science, the campaign incorporates community events and digital media to showcase the integration and inclusion of immigrants into the heart and life of the city of Aurora, while celebrating their diversity.
“We want our students to gain a hands-on understanding of a global society,” said Dr. Pace. “And we want them to share with others how everyone contributes to the prosperity of our city, our state and our country.” Dr. Pace also notes that while at least 16 extremist groups are located in the state, Aurora is the safest and most diverse city in the state. CCA’s ThankYouAmerica! campaign includes a website, Twitter (@ThankYouAmerico), Facebook page, and YouTube channel. You will also see students and staff wearing ThankYouAmerica! shirts around CCA.
An event to recognize and honor members of the Aurora immigrant community will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 5 p.m., at the Aurora Public Library, located at 15151 E. Alameda Parkway. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 11.
CCA students were chosen as part of President Obama’s Peer2Peer Program to combat violent extremism. The students created their own non-profit organization, ThankYouAmerica! as part of a larger effort with The Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Justice, and the U.S. State Department. CCA is one of 60 colleges competing to be recognized for their efforts to combat extremism. If selected in the competition, CCA students will testify about their experiences on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and the college may receive a monetary award to help continue the campaign.
For interviews with Dr. Bobby Pace or CCA students, please contact: Mary Jackson Meeks, assistant director for Public Relations & PIO at 303-913-5282.