No Room In The Inn: A Christmas Call for Equal Access to Higher Education

As he did last year, Rev. Dr. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP gave his Christmas Message on the steps of the North Carolina Community College System. Rev. Barber reflected on Luke 2:7, in which Joseph and Mary are told there is no room in the inn. He called on the leaders of our state to have the courage to "open up these doors and let our children come in."

Don't you think that innkeeper might look back and wish that he had let Jesus into his his inn? Do we want to make the same mistake?

Rev. Barber sent a letter to Gov. Easley and Gov.-Elect Perdue calling on them to support equal college access for undocumented students. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

"Any child in our state has the right to a public school education through the 12th grade. The state has already invested heavily in children who have attended our schools for most of their lives. By graduating from high school, they have already proven they are highly motivated students who are bi-lingual and bi-cultural perspectives to our diverse and productive society. With further education, they will become more productive, and contribute more taxes and creativity to North Carolina’s economic engine. They will pay full tuition--$2,000 more than the actual cost of educating a student in our community college. Immigrant families already pay more than their share in taxes—and with more education will pay even more to our tax base.

I also invite you both to make strong statements this season about our regard for the children—all children, regardless of their status—and our commitment to their human right to learn. While the Community College Board “studies” this issue during this Christmas season, we are killing the dreams of children, who could be enrolling in a nearby Community College in January 2009. Call the Board back for a special session to send a message out to all our children and the world: North Carolina is the Education State. Thank you."

This event was co-sponsored by the NC NAACP and the Adelante Education Coalition. As a representative of Adelante, I echo Rev. Barber's call to our Gov. Elect to reverse her position on this issue.

There is no sound policy reason to exclude those students who have succeeded in our K-12 educational system from attending our Community College System. Denying these students the opportunity to pursue their educational dreams is immoral and un-American. These brilliant young people want to make our state and our nation a better place for all of us to live.

To learn more about this issue or sign on as a supporter, visit our website here.


Stories Shared

Before Rev. Barber spoke, several people shared personal perspectives and stories about why they support undocumented immigrants having equal access to higher education. Here's a short clip with a few of them speaking.


to the organizers of this event for a timely use of this season's message of outreach and inclusion to speak on one of today's injustices. I am sorry that I was not able to attend in person.

I hope that Gov.-elect Perdue and our other state elected leaders will take this message of justice for blameless young people to heart.

Dan Besse