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San Diego reps celebrate federal money to support marginalized community college students

Last week, President Biden told Congressional Democrats to remind voters of their accomplishments. Monday, three San Diego Democrats visited Mesa College to do that.

Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA 51) joined Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA 50) and Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA 52) in celebrating $3.4 million for the San Diego Community College District.

The money was approved by Congress in December as part of the fiscal year Omnibus Appropriations Bill.


$1.2 million has been secured to better serve the district’s LGBTQ community. Some of the money will be used to hire a regional coordinator for the PRIDE centers already on the City and Mesa College campuses and those planned for Miramar College and the district's Continuing Education location.

The funding was opposed by several conservative Republican representatives, who called it a part of “woke” culture.

At a news conference on the Mesa College campus Monday, Jacobs said, “Let me be clear. If it’s 'woke' to make sure that young people in our community have a space where they can be themselves and for me to advocate for people who often are overlooked and marginalized, I guess I’m woke."

Another $1 million will expand services for students who have recently aged out of the foster care system. Peters said that includes a population of 1,500 former foster youth county-wide. He also said almost half of them are unemployed with a need for guidance.

"This project will help students who deserve extra support to succeed personally and professionally as they enter a new world of challenges and opportunities," Peters said.

Anahis Mendoza is a DACA student at Mesa College. She works in the DACA office on campus, San Diego, Calif., March 6, 2023.
Matthew Bowler
Anahis Mendoza is a DACA student at Mesa College. She works in the DACA office on campus, San Diego, Calif., March 6, 2023.

Another $1.2 million will go to support the community college district's DACA "dreamers," like Anahis Mendoza, who is at Mesa College studying to become an interior designer. Along with taking classes, she also counsels other students on campus who were born in a foreign country and brought to the U.S. by their undocumented parents.

There are an estimated 1,200 undocumented students at the district's four main locations.

"Dreamers and undocumented students deserve a fair shot at the American Dream like everyone else, and the great equalizer is a high-quality education," Vargas said.