Published: July 13, 2016

Student participates in national discussion on racial justice in education

Contact(s): Stepheni Schlinker Office of Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education office: (517) 884-8011

Michigan State University criminal justice junior and College Assistance Migrant Program scholar Esbeydy Villegas recently participated in a panel discussion on racial justice in education at the 2016 National Education Association’s Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women in Washington, D.C.

“I was very excited to have been chosen to serve on this panel,” Villegas said. “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the many migrant students like myself and to discuss my personal experience with racial justice in education.”

Villegas was one of five student panel members from across the country who participated. A variety of issues were covered during the discussion: Some students are punished more severely in schools and have been suspended or expelled more often than others; some are blocked from opportunities because of their race or ethnicity; some students are fearful because of their immigration status; and some students face bullying and harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“As a member of the panel, I talked about my experience as a migrant student and the racism I encountered from other students in my school,” Villegas said. “I also talked about educators I encountered who were not helpful and about one educator who was extremely helpful. I am proud of what I did, and what I still do, working in the fields along with my parents, being a migrant student and breaking the mold.”

Villegas hopes audience members at the panel discussion learned every student has unique struggles and no student should be underestimated because of who they are or what their family does for a living.

The entire panel discussion can be viewed online at

Criminal justice junior and College Assistance Migrant Program scholar Esbeydy Villegas

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