20
June
2016
|
09:02 PM
America/Chicago

A Note from Interim President Michael A. Olivas: Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby

Last week, we celebrated four birthdays and commemorations that should matter to all of us in the UHD community:

Happy Birthday to Plyler v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed undocumented children to enroll in and find safe havens in K-12 schools. It was decided on June 15, 1982, and has been remarkably supple and resilient. As SCOTUS immigration cases go, this is the apex of such pro-immigrant decisions, and it has been a harbinger of UHD fortunes, as the children of Plyler (which involved, among others, HISD) are now citizens and their children are our students.

On the fortieth anniversary of Plyler, President Obama promulgated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has allowed over 700,000 formerly undocumented students to become DACAmented, with employment authorization, Social Security Numbers, and "lawful presence," enabling them to receive drivers' licenses and many other benefits. The proposed DAPA, for their parents, is being decided in a case that will likely be announced this week; if DAPA is allowed, it would also have transformative benefits for many Houstonians, and parents of many of our current students, themselves beneficiaries of this generous example of deferred action. Happy 4th Birthday, DACA. (One of the earliest examples of prosecutorial discretion is the case of John Lennon.)

In addition, June 16 was Bloomsday, invoking the extraordinary James Joyce novel Ulysses, set in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Reading this magnificent work is one of life's exquisite pleasures, one I repeat every few years. I hope to do it again next summer, by which time UHD should have a new president.

We also marked the 150th Juneteenth. It took two months after the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox, ending the Civil War, before the last slaves got the news of their emancipation.

And in the spirit of last Thursday's wonderful staff gathering, focused on rock and roll, here is my favorite rendition of the great song by the incomparable Dolly Parton, whose birthday is January 19: YouTube: Dolly Parton.

I hope all of you are having a restorative and productive summer,

Michael