High School Immersion Program

Join students from across the U.S. and leaders in the movement for social justice across the Dominican Republic for a close-up look at how our global economy is woven together! "We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly …before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured. This is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



What we do:

  • Listen and learn directly from the personal stories of organizers at the forefront of the fight for social justice on the ground in the Dominican Republic.

  • Learn about the history of student-labor organizing that continues to shape the garment industry, and the important skills to plug into this movement and make an impact!

  • Have a whole lot of pure, simple, fun, with an amazing community of organizers in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Enjoy the fantastic music and dance scene, the natural beauty, hike, hang out with local families.

  • Highlights:

  • Meet the inspiring leaders of Alta Gracia, the first ever living-wage union-made factory producing college logo apparel. This article in The Nation and this fun video made by United Students Against Sweatshops share the history, or check out this short documentary film from past trip participants. Come see for yourself how more than a decade of student worker solidarity continues to transform the Free Trade Zone and community of Villa Altagracia.

  • Gain a first-hand understanding of the bigger picture of human rights in the global economy through direct testimony from organizers in Fedotrazonas, the Federation of Free Trade Zone workers.

  • Meet students from all over, feed your creativity, fine-tune your organizing skills and have time to develop your game plans in an inspiring new setting. Build alliances with a network of amazing students across the country who are fighting for change, just like you!

  • Immerse yourself in the local culture with home-stays and hang-out time with families in Villa Altagracia. Sharpen your Spanish-speaking skills with direct conversations (though you don't need to speak Spanish to join- we provide interpretation!)

  • Beaches! Rainforest Rivers! Hikes in the hills of Villa Altagracia! Learn to appreciate Dominican music and dance – Bachata, Merengue, Dembow – with union leaders! Bilingual Karaoke! Cheesy games! Learn to cook delicious Dominican food! Art! Action!

  • Stay connected! Plug in to networks that will drive this movement forward when you get home. Whether sharing ideas and advice to help each other out on calls post-trip or meeting up at regional conferences, we stay involved in the labor justice movement post-trip!

  • COST: $1,225 FOR ALL IN-COUNTRY NECESSITIES. Includes food, housing, transport, interpretation, supplies. Does not include airfare or travel outside of established program dates, souvenirs, airport entry fee ($10), mandatory basic travel insurance through ISIC card ($22), vaccinations ($50 - $100) and personal entertainment.

    NO MONEY? NO PROBLEM! FREE FUNDRAISING WORKSHOPS! We pre-game the trips with lots of skillshares via Google hangouts of how you can raise the money to get you there, even if this would normally be beyond your means. The vast majority of students who have attended Solidarity Immersions have raised their program fees without paying a dime of their personal-money,whether through money from their shcools, donations from unions and local businesses, letter writing to family and friends, benefit parties, work-trades and other fundraising tactics that we’ll share with each other. We’ll help you get there!

    ALL APPLICANTS MUST PAY A NON-REFUNDABLE $250 deposit by June 15. If you’re a waffler or a flake, that’s a dealbreaker. But if you’re serious, just learned about this yesterday, and really want to go, talk to us. We’re in the business of movement building – not rule or money making. We know students get our best work done last minute – the deadline to join the trip is somewhat flexible if you mean business, so call us.

    APPLY FOR THE SOLIDARITY IMMERSION! Here’s a link to the application. Please send a completed copy to info@solidarityignite.org with your name and school in the headline of the email and saved as the title of the saved document of your application.


    FAQs:


    I’m not a high school student. Can I still join on the Solidarity Immersion?

    The Solidarity Immersion is designed for current high school students, so the information advertised is pertinent to current high school students, aged 16+. Solidarity Ignite also runs semi-annual Solidarity Immersion for undergraduate college students. You can read more about these on our website at www.solidarityignite.org/upcomingtrips.html.

    If you are a graduate student, scholar, or community ally and interested in conducting research on Alta Gracia, the Worker Rights Consortium, and human rights in the garment industry or a related field, we’re happy to share with you resources for researching in the Dominican Republic. If you are interested in the campus/community social justice organizing workshops held during this immersion, contact us and we’ll work together from there.

    Where exactly in the Dominican Republic are we staying during the trip?

    We’ll be visiting several towns during the program and sleeping in two different locations. Participants will arrive in Santo Domingo, the capital, where we’ll meet and greet you at the airport! We spend several days in Santo Domingo getting to know each other, learning about history of the Dominican Republic and student-garment worker international collaborations, and getting acquainted with Dominican culture and life. While in Santo Domingo, we stay in a community center in a safe and quiet neighborhood that is within walking distance to Zona Colonial, the historic downtown neighborhood of Santo Domingo.

    The rest of the trip is spent in Villa Altagracia, a small city about 45 minutes north of Santo Domingo. This is where the Alta Gracia factory is located. While in Villa Altagracia, we will be home-staying with workers from the factory. Students are grouped into pairs of 2-3 for homestays based on language ability. All host families have hosted students from the U.S. before and are parents.

    We’ll be visiting several other small towns and larger cities during the trip, but these will be day trips: Santiago, Bonao. While accommodations will be simple and reflective of typical Dominican lifestyle, you will always have a safe place to sleep, either a bed or mattress, and a place to use the bathroom and shower.

    Do I need a passport?

    Yes! You need a valid passport to enter the Dominican Republic. Please secure this with sufficient time before the trip, as expediting passports can be costly and inconvenient. Search here to find out where to apply for a passport.

    What vaccinations are required?

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid vaccinations. We’ve never had a participant contract any of these from the Solidarity Immersion- but don’t mess around with your health, get these ASAP. Let us know if you need a loan to make this happen. Here’s where you can find a travel clinic near you. We do not require malaria medication, as it is not prevalent in the areas we’ll be visiting- whether or not you choose to purchase that is your prerogative.

    Can I speak with past trip participants/can my parents speak with a trip facilitator?

    Yes! We’re happy to connect you with past participants and we’re happy to speak with your parents/guardians (or have a parent of a past participant do such)! Just ask.

    Who runs the Solidarity Immersion?

    The Solidarity Immersion is run by a non-profit organization called Solidarity Ignite as well as students who’ve organized labor rights campaigns on their campuses. We work side-by-side with local folks and workers and members of Fedotrazonas union federation to plan the itinerary and facilitate the trip.

    Do I need to speak Spanish to participate?

    No! While it would be a huge asset, plenty of monolingual folks participate in the Solidarity Immersion every year. We make sure to pair up homestay partners based on language ability, and we have interpreters present to interpret all conversations and exchanges with workers. And, we provide workshops on Spanish essentials and non-verbal communication skills, as well as interpretation in a social justice context workshops for bilingual folks.

    Will someone meet me at the airport?

    We pick you up from the airport and drop you off, as long as you travel within our established dates. You’ll spot us easily- we’ll have big signs to point us out!