2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Brenda Rosas

Brenda Rosas

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Inland Empire, California
  • Law school University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Brenda (she/her/ella) will work alongside the community to challenge the school pushout of students of color, immigrant students, and English Language Learner students, with a focus on eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline, through direct representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community education in the Inland Empire.

San Bernardino and Riverside Counties (“Inland Empire”) in Southern California have historically struggled and continue to struggle with the school pushout of Black and Indigenous students, immigrant students, and English Language Learner students. School districts in these counties disproportionately discipline and criminalize public school students in these and other protected classes. Grassroots organizations in the region have worked to challenge the school pushout of these students for years, but have lacked sufficient resources, especially given the region’s size and population.

Brenda’s educational experiences exposed her to the disparities and systemic issues in the public education system. Through these experiences, she realized access to education was a rare opportunity for many of her peers, all of whom had the potential to pursue higher education but were continuously pushed out. This ignited her commitment to challenging systemic issues leading to student pushout so that historically excluded students can access an equitable education and pursue higher education.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Brenda will represent students and parents in school discipline proceedings and will advocate for less punitive, supportive, and restorative measures. Through this direct representation, she will identify systemic issues disproportionately affecting students of color and immigrant students that can be challenged through impact litigation. In addition, she will work with community organizations to develop and advance campaigns to eliminate harmful policies disproportionately affecting students of color and immigrant students. She will also conduct Know Your Rights trainings in English and Spanish to empower the community and give them the tools to identify issues and enforce their rights.

As a first-generation Chicana and proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, I’m passionate about working towards transformative justice for students of color and immigrant students. I’m proud to work in the Inland Empire, a region that mirrors my own community.

Brenda Rosas /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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