Policing the Happiest Place on Earth PAGE 5
The Two Perspectives of Affirmative Action PAGE 13
Giving Women the Spotlight PAGE 20
César Chávez for all People PAGE 21
fall 2012 LA GENTE 1
contents tarado del mes
4 | September: Saturday Night Live
13 | The Two Perspectives of Affirmative Actions 14 | And the award goes to...
4 | October: Tucson Unified School District
comunidad 5 | Policing the Happiest Place on Earth 6 | Hidden Collectives Brought to the Spotlight 7 | Remembering Local Heroes
arte y cultura 15| The American Flavor of Latin Music 16| Revolutionary in art and in love 17 | A Taste of Havana 18 | Día de Los Muertos: A Day of Rememberance
19 | Death Never Looked So 8 |The Bridge of First GenGood eration College Students 20 | Giving Women the Spotlight 9 |Multicultural Center: A Place of Unity 10 | Tee up with Lee Lopez 11 | Improving Dreams, Equality, Access
21 | César Chávez for all People 22 | Uniendo dos mundos
12 | Closing Doors of Opportunity
sigan luchando ABOUT THE COVER
21 | La Herencia Mexicana
La Gente Lingo arte y cultura need we say more? comunidad local insights expresiones all things creative LaGENTEdotORG online preview
Chávez by Armando Silva Silva is an artist from Zacatecas, Mexico who grew up in the Northern Colorado area. He considers himself a humble yet aggressive artist. In his second showing for La Gente, Silva depicts Chavez in a contemplative state. To view more of Silva’s work or to contact him, visit aisgarts.com 2 LA GENTE fall 2012
latinoamérica transnational vista nuestra joteria LGBTQ sigan luchando for those inside tarado del mes the not-so-hot tamale ¡topen esto! all things opinionated universidad exclusively osito
Accompanying the article Death Never Looked So Good, artist Francisco Garcia presents a captivating yet simple image. You may have seen Garcia’s work in murals throughout California and Arizona. Look for him under Grafftruth
OUR MISSION: La Gente Newsmagazine is for the UCLA student interested in Latino issues. We want to represent the diversity of our culture and cultivate pride in our community. We’re a forum for conversation hoping to inspire readers to get involved and make their voices heard. Start a conversation! La Gente accepts outside submissions of all sorts for review and possible publication. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Submission” in the subject line. Join the conversation! Comment on our articles online, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. What should La Gente cover of the Latino student community? #estudiante Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the La Gente editorial board. All other columns, cartoons, and letters represent the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial board. The UCLA communications board has a media grievance procedure for resolving grievances against any of its media. For a copy of the complete procedure contact student media at 310.825.2787. Copyright 2011 ASUCLA Communications Board
LA GENTE VOL. 43 ISSUE 1
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Helen Alonzo
Letter from the Editor
Saludos y Abrazos,
Many of you faithful readers probably noticed there is no theme for this quarter. My goal was for each Gentista to write whatever interested them. The reason is that I wanted to share with our new Gentistas a gift. This gift is the ability to express our voices, our opinions, and our stories.
Jacqueline Espinoza Samuel Temblador
DESIGN EDITOR Melissa Merrill
WEB EDITOR Magaly Chavez
La Gente is unique because this is our paper. It’s not La Opinion and it’s not the Los Angeles Times. It’s a place where we can share how we view the world as students through the lens of our identity, whether it is Latino/ Latina, Chicano/Chicana, Hispanic, Salvadoran, Cuban, Guatemalan or mixed.
COPY EDITORS Helen Alonzo Melissa Merrill Michael Reyes
Regem Corpuz Maria Guerra Michelle Guevara Bernadett Leggis Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero Rosa L. Meza SunJoy Moreno Madelinn Ornelas Erika Ramirez Jose Ramos Jr. Michael Reyes Michelle Salinas Tracie Sánchez Savannah Smith Charlene Unzeuta
Helen Alonzo Jeanelle Horcasitas Madelinn Ornelas Michelle Martinez Haidee Pacheco Samuel Temblador
ILLUSTRATIONS Jonathan Horcasitas Samuel Temblador
PHOTOGRAPHERS Melissa Merrill Erika Ramirez
Adriana Almanza Prof. Juan Gómez-Quiñones Emilio Hernandez Roberto Reyna
Throughout La Gente’s 42 year history we have been able to continuously look to our community and the struggles we have overcome and the struggles we have yet to face. In this issue, you will find articles about the shared experiences of first generation college students in LA and Amsterdam, educator Sal Castro and affirmative action. While plenty has changed since the walkouts of 1968 and there are now more Latino politicians, lawyers, and doctors, we still have not reached equality in this nation. We must never forget the fight those before us shouldered for equality. Rather, we should be actively carrying on that fight by letting our voices be heard, by not allowing anyone tell us we cannot succeed and by empowering ourselves so we can empower those in our communities. My hope is that every person that reads or writes for La Gente will gain as much as I have during my time here. La Gente has given me so much invaluable knowledge. Everytime I come to the office I learn something new from my fellow Gentistas. From community organizations and new legislation, to Chicano art and history: the range of topics are endless. I hope the various topics presented in this issue will allow you to gain new knowledge or pique your interest in order to further your own research. Thank you for picking up this quarter’s issue! Best,
STUDENT MEDIA DIRECTOR Arvli Ward
STUDENT MEDIA ADVISER Amy Emmert
Community profiles, arts, culture and politics for the Latino college student
118 Kerckhoff Hall 308 Westwood Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90024 email@example.com 310.825.9836 Facebook: La Gente Newsmagazine This magazine was made possible with the support of Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, online at CampusProgress.org.
P.S. We are always looking for designers, writers, contributors, and bloggers. You know you want to join! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus Progress works to help young people — advocates, activists, journalists, artists — make their voices heard on issues that matter. Learn more at CampusProgress.org.
fall 2012 LA GENTE 3
tarado del mes
Saturday Night Live
BC’s comedy show “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) aired a skit mid-September poking fun at the topic of the Latino vote. The skit featured a newly-created character, Mimi Morales, a fictitious Latino vote volunteer who made an appearance on the “Weekend Update” segment of the show—where a news anchor frequently interviews pop icons, politicians, or other well known people in current events. Morales was interviewed on the topic of the importance of the Latino vote during the 2012 election season. With her stereotypical physical features complete with gold hoops, gold-colored lamé jacket, heavy makeup and Latino-cized accent, Morales was a caricature of Latina that still harms even post-election. Morales answers questions with an airheaded and immature way of talking, going off topic and being interrupted often by her overly sexualized Dominican boyfriend that accompanies her at the interview. The topic of the DREAM act is brought up, and without much background information regarding it, Strong (as Morales) says she supports the act but hints that not all immigrants should be allowed in the United States because some are dangerous. Unfortunately, this skit was not discovered by the author until the SNL episode was aired as a rerun in late October. By then, this skit had spread via the Internet and television, promoting a negative stereotype of the Latina voter to all types of viewers. The skit is especially insulting because, in the short span of three minutes, the skit seems to succeed in dismissing the importance of the Latino
Tucson Unified School District
his month’s Tarado del Mes is dedicated to that ever deserving paragon of American Democracy, which is as close to the hearts and minds of American Latinos as pink underwear and handcuffs on a Sheriff Arpiao prisoner, Arizona. Yes, these days the Grand Canyon state keeps getting grander as it crosses the fronteras of racial and now, with the passage of SB 2281, education policy. Old Senator McCarthy would be proud of Attorney General Tom Horne and state Superintendent John Huppenthal for dismantling the Mexican American studies (MAS) curriculum in the TUSD and preventing the brown menace, in a state that ranks in the bottom ten for its educational policy and programs, from acquiring even the slightest hope of a good education. Never mind that MAS studies have been proven to improve the academic achievement of students of color within the TUSD; Huppenthal and Horne, who was “shocked by the racist nature of the curriculum,” are obviously preventing the students from becoming hate mongering racists in classes that foster an understanding of the diverse American social and historical experience and which are open to students of all backgrounds. These noble vanguards of liberty and democracy have done away with Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and have opted instead for a Pedagogy of the Obsessed in implementing their prohibition on the teaching of any incisive socially conscious works such as Freire’s. This is sure to do a much better job of breeding a more inclusive and egalitarian social environment than literature which seeks to examine the causes of racialized social disparities while engaging students in developing solutions. But according to TUSD spokeswoman Cara Rene, “the books were not banned, they were put in libraries” for storage. Teachers can still use these learning materials as long as they completely ignore anything that
4 LA GENTE fall 2012
vote. La Gente’s Spring 2012 issue was focused on the theme of the Latino vote, so we know that the character Mimi Morales is not at all a real or truthful depiction of a well-informed and politically involved Latino students and voters. So why has NBC or the producers of SNL deemed it appropriate to air such a false and hurtful stereotype? Let’s just hope that Mimi Morales has made her one and only appearance on the show.
even remotely relates to topics of race or ethnicity. This is brilliant; the teachers can finally use class time more productively to show students how to use books as door stops and paper weights. I’m sure Horne and Huppenthal have had to increase state security measures after sleeper cell Tony Diaz became “active” and organized the librotraficante caravan this past March. God only knows what kind of sick sweatshop labor-style drug operation these traficantes are running in their “underground libraries.” Ok, SAMUEL TEMBLADOR call me crazy but I think Horne and Huppenthal might be onto something: if the literature the traficantes have smuggled into the TUSD encourages the overthrow of the U.S government then their next step will obviously be to form JAMAS! the Latino Branch of the Palestinian HAMAS. With the money they make from their “book smuggling” operations, they’ll be sending TUSD students to infiltrate college campuses across the U.S to pursue a higher education in no time.
Policing the Happiest Place on Earth Extra-judicial Justice in the Streets of Anaheim Charlene Unzueta email@example.com
naheim, California is commonly known for its association with Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but in reality Anaheim has a lot more going on than what the media portrays. Within the past couple of months Anaheim has seen a lot of community action such as protests, rallies, and press conferences. These events were staged after a young man, Manuel Diaz, was shot and killed by police officers. While The Orange County Register has been covering this issue to a certain depth, many are still not aware of what is happening in Anaheim. Many have been shot or killed in Anaheim, due to increased gang violence and police shootings. The July 21, 2012 shooting of Diaz, followed by the shooting and death of another Latino, Joel Matthew Acevedo, led to the city’s unrest stemming from frustrations that young Latinos were being wrongfully killed. The best way to describe the situation in Anaheim is to say that there is plenty of tension between police and the community. Where there was once respect, there is now a division between those who have power and those in the community. I became aware of this division when my family and I went to a press conference on the 700th block of Anna Drive. The press conference was held in August and just a few steps from where Diaz passed away. Here, Genevieve Huizar, the young Latino’s mother, was seeking justice for her son. Huizar broke down when she described having to identify her son’s body. This press conference is just one way Huizar has tried to call attention to her son’s death, and to bring change to Anaheim. Going to this press conference came as a surprise because it was my parents who were informed about what was happening in Anaheim. They thought it was a good idea to take my brother and myself with them to understand one of many issues affecting Latinos. While I was not the one who initially decided to attend the press confer-
Anaheim Cruzaders, a group started by
Theresa Smith, mother of the late Cesar Cruz, is fighting for justice over her son’s murder by police. Many families continuously hold picket lines and vigils in front of the Anaheim Police Department, on Harbor Boulevard, every Sunday from 12 to 2 pm. For more information about the death of Diaz and others like him, see The Orange County Register at www.ocregister.com
Manuel Diaz Memorial on Anna Street.
ence, it really resonated with me after seeing the memorial, meeting Diaz’s mom, and seeing how much my own mom was affected by the press conference. It was reported by Anaheim police that Diaz ran when the officers tried to contact him. Diaz was allegedly holding a concealed weapon, so when he turned to face the officers, he was shot. Diaz was shot once in the leg, followed by a shot to the back of his head. While it was alleged that there was a weapon in Diaz’s hands, it was never confirmed what exactly he was holding I didn’t understand why he had to be killed, and I was baffled by the fact that Diaz was shot twice. The allegations against Diaz for supposedly carrying a weapon should not be a reason to be shot. When allegations are not confirmed it only causes more upset within the community. Since the shooting, Diaz’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Anaheim and the police department for allegedly violating Diaz’s federal civil rights and unjust death. Diaz’s family is also upset that Nick Bennallack, the alleged police officer who killed Diaz, continues to work on the streets. After attending the press conference, I decided to get involved with the Anaheim community and the action that would take place at Anaheim High School against the injustices occurring in the city. This day of outreach brought many issues to light, and many residents discussed the city’s gang problems and problems with the police. Jennifer Cervantes, a fourth year Chicana Chicano Studies major who is from Anaheim, said, “From what I can see, the community does not trust police nor want anything to do with them. The residents of Anaheim no longer feel safe due to the shootings, which have brought fear into the community. The community feels excluded from the privileged residents in Anaheim Hills because of the heightened police surveillance.” An unarmed person, regardless if they are affiliated with a gang or not, does not deserve to be killed. Everyone deserves a fair trial, and this is something Manuel Diaz was not afforded. Overall, the actions in Anaheim are calling for change and mutual respect between the community and law enforcement. fall 2012 LA GENTE 5
Hidden Collectives Brought to the Spotlight Community collectives combat negative portrayals of the media Michelle Salinas firstname.lastname@example.org
oo often I turn on my television and see news about a shooting in South LA, a gang member dead in East LA, or some other criminal activity in these areas. Our working-class communities of color are rarely covered in the media, but when they are, they are negatively portrayed. However, our communities are much more than shootings, gangs, drugs, and violence. We are collectives working for the empowerment of our youth. We are collectives recreating the way we obtain and consume our own food. We are Corazon del Pueblo and the South Central Farmers. Corazon del Pueblo is a volunteer-run, non-profit community space in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. This collective promotes peace, social justice, and cultural understanding through means of art, education, and social action. Some of their many free services include: Zumba classes, wombyn’s circles, Nahuatl studies, Danza Azteca classes, and open mic nights. Paco Rodriguez is one of the founders and community organizers for the collective who believes that Corazon del Pueblo provides a safe space. Paco says Corazon del Pueblo is a place where people can “organize, be creative, and share knowledge with each other.” According to Paco, folks often say, “Wow, there’s a great vibe, a great feeling here.” Corazon del Pueblo wants people to feel good in this space because many times that feeling isn’t present anywhere else in the community. However, Paco emphasizes that Corazon del Pueblo is more than just a space. For many it’s a second home where folks can propose ideas and the collective will help them create something. This assistance is a way to “compensate for the system” that lacks resources for people east of the LA River. “The media has poisoned the public image of Boyle Heights. This is why different communities never intercross with each other. It is an image that isolates Boyle Heights,” says Paco. Another positive collective in the community is the South Central Farmers Coopera-
tive. The South Central Farmers Cooperative (SCFC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to engage community members to obtain food sovereignty and access quality organic produce. All produce is grown and harvested in Bakersfield, California. Community members from LA, travel to Bakersfield each week and plant, clean, or harvest the produce. The SCFC was established in South Central LA in 2006 due to an eviction of a 14-acre community farm. Xamuel Lara is a SCFC farmer and student at East Los Angeles Community College. Xamuel views the SCFC as a collective that existed before 2006, “Since the first people began to plant seeds, we continue to pass down the torch de el amor por la tierra para nuestras proximas generaciones,” said Xamuel. To farmers like Xamuel, SCFC does more than grow organic food, “For me, creating critical relationships with the buyers of our produce is also essential in food production. It feels good to know that you grew that plant and you can share your happiness with others,” he said. Not only has SCFC made an impact on South LA and folks like Xamuel, but also on surrounding communities due to the increase of farmer’s market stands that make organic produce more accessible. Xamuel is aware that the media does not report positive work like this, instead he believes they “Instill fear into people with stereotypes, which doesn’t allow markets that offer organic healthy produce and alternatives to be built in the hoods. Thus creating food deserts and inadequate access to these services.” These collectives, dedicated to the improvement of their communities, are often not paid for all their hard work and too often not even acknowledged. Instead, we hear about the corruption in our neighborhoods. This positive work needs to be given credit because our communities are not what the media portrays. They are composed of thousands of seeds being nurtured day in and day out by people like Paco and Xamuel.
• Volunteer-run, • Grassroots organization non-profit organization
peace, social justice, and cultural understanding
• Dedicated to engaging community members to obtain
through art, education, and social action.
access to quality organic produce All their produce is grown and harvested in Bakersfield, California. Visit their website food sovereignty and
• Like them on FB: https://www.facebook. • at: http://www.southcencom/corazondelpuebtralfarmers.com lo.boyleheights CORAZON DEL PUEBLO
6 LA GENTE fall 2012
SOUTH CENTRAL FARMERS
Remembering Local Heroes Recognition of Sal Castro and the students involved in the East LA walkout of 1968 Rosa Linda Meza email@example.com
t is 1968, and outside the gates of East Los Angeles schools (Roosevelt, Wilson, Lincoln, Garfield, and Belmont), Chicano students protest the injustices and years of educational discrimination. Salvador “Sal” B. Castro, a high school teacher at Lincoln High, joined his students and walked out, making it clear that the education system had to change. The walkouts expanded out of the East LA area into the southwest. The cry for justice had just begun. Castro’s participation in the walkouts and role as guide to the students led to him being arrested and charged with felonies. These charges were dismissed under the ruling of the California State Supreme Court, stating that Castro’s first amendment right was violated. The walkouts changed the history of education for Latino students. In high school, Latino students were persuaded to become secretaries, carpenters, or mechanics. They had been targeted to serve their community with hands on work, and none were advised to attend a university. Dr. Tom Rivera, founder and director of the Inland Empire Future Leaders Program and long time friend of Sal Castro said, “We need to keep reminding ourselves that these things hapINLAND EMPIRE FUTURE LEADERS PROGRAM Sal Castro pen and can happen again. One must learn from history and if you don’t then you’re lost.” Even though Chicano students have students strive for higher education. The Chicano population must be informed of the student’s sacrifice and come to understand that they did not end the fight, but ignited it. The Latino community is reminded that at times one must take matters into their own hands. Everyone knows about the important role that César Chávez played in Chicano history, but many do not know about Sal Castro’s story. The work that César Chávez accomplished helped the farm workers, while Sal Castro’s work helped students. “César Chávez had national recognition and national support. With the LA walkouts we didn’t have that kind of support, it was a local situation that happened without any recogbeen disadvantaged historically, these injustices are still preva- nition nationally,” said Rivera. “Unless [we] get somebody in congress or in the senate, it will be very difficult to have the lent in today’s society. “Although the education system has been reformed since the walkouts recognized nationally.” Sal Castro’s efforts and the high school walkouts truly 1968 walkouts, the dropout rate of Latino students at the high school level is about 50%. And now I think it’s imperative that turned the country and the education system upside down. It began the fight for a better future, and the opportunity to obwe remind our kids that are in school right now that it wasn’t tain a greater education than previous generations. It is time so easy back then and even now,” said Rivera. for high school walkouts to receive national recognition for the Learning about the inequitable conditions that Chicano positive changes it made in the Chicano community. students went through in the past helped me to value the opportunity I had to gain an education. Now, as a college student I continue to see injustices in the education system, but what I do not see is the rightful recognition for all the work that East LA area high school students did. A plaque was placed in Hazard Park to honor the students who participated in the East LA high school Walkouts. Honoring the students in the walkout will remind the nation’s educaLet us know at firstname.lastname@example.org tion system to be much more proactive towards helping Latino fall 2012 LA GENTE 7
“Although the education system has been reformed since the 1968 walkouts, the dropout rate of Latino students at the high school level is about 50%.” - Dr. Tom Rivera
Have you ever been involved in a walkout?
The Bridge of First Generation College Students Students share their journey through the university system all the way from Amsterdam to Los Angeles Aranzazu Medellin Guerrero email@example.com
ver since I was little my parents told me you have to study. Go to the university. Studying is very important,” said Ferdous Arachid, a first generation college student who is in his second year of studying Anthropology at the Vjire University (VU) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Much like the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), VU strives to create a helpful learning environment for first generation college students from diverse backgrounds. Arachid has become one of those students. Identifying as an Afghan-Dutch Muslim musician, Arachid shares a very similar experience to first generation Latino college students at UCLA. To ensure the academic success of students with diverse backgrounds, such as first generation Latino college students, UCLA students and administrators have created outreach and retention programs. As Liset Contreras, a UCLA first year Undeclared Life Science major stated, “The Academic Advancement Program’s (AAP) Freshman Summer Program (FSP) really helped me in terms of figuring out how everything at UCLA works, without it I might not know as much as I know now. So I am very thankful for it.” Contreras, a native of Eastside Los Angeles, proudly acknowledges her Mexican heritage, and is set on never forgetting her roots and community as she pursues higher education. For more than 40 years, through endorsing Access, Equity, and Excellence, AAP has provided assistance to UCLA students from diverse backgrounds such as Contreras. Stemming from the AAP model, VU students and administrators seem to also be working towards the same goal. Through programs such as the VU Summer Course and Dialogue@VU, the university has
UCLA students, first year Liseth Contreras and fourth year Gilbert Carillo
8 LA GENTE fall 2012
Ferdous Arachid is a second year Anthropology major at Vjire University.
aimed to create a learning environment with the purpose of making the campus feel welcoming and safe for first generation college students. Dimpel Pabbi, a second year student studying Business Economics who participated as a student and Student Coach for the Summer Course, said, “The summer course really helped me. I think that if I didn’t participate in the course I would not know many of the things I know now.” Acknowledging her Indian heritage, Pabbi stressed the importance of continuing her education for the betterment of herself and her community. The diversity protocol seems to be advocated throughout the California higher educational system due to the underrepresentation of students from first generation backgrounds in universities. For the past ten years, UCLA and the VU University have partnered together to promote diversity and recognize the success of first generation college students. When asked if UCLA was truly promoting diversity and the success of first generation students, Gilbert Carillo, a fourth year History major at UCLA said, “To be honest, I do think UCLA is promoting diversity. It’s not like they are just saying it and not doing it. There are many programs at UCLA that are actively going out into underrepresented communities from diverse backgrounds to try to help them with college preparatory workshops, and trying to instill college values.” For Carrillo like Arachid, his family has served as a key motivator for his education. Without the influence and hard work of his parents, Carillo said he would not be where he is today. Programs such as AAP and the Summer Course at the VU seem to progressively help students. When asked if they felt safe on their campus and if they thought their University was creating a welcoming environment, Arachid and Pabbi both responded positively. Arachid said, “I am a Muslim and that is very important to me. At the University there is a place where I can pray. I think it is great that I can do this at the University.” Pabbi responded saying, “I have seen the summer course team who really is making the effort to keep the summer course alive and to stimulate diversity at the VU.”
Multicultural Center: A Place of Unity Students seek a place of unity to break down racial barriers Emilio Hernandez firstname.lastname@example.org
CLA could potentially join sister campuses UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC San Diego in the creation of a multicultural center. The Centers’ proposal includes providing space for a non-denominational prayer room, a full industrial sized kitchen, meeting rooms, and a performance space. Student groups began a campaign for the creation of a multicultural center in Spring of 2012 in response to a series of racist acts, most recently targeted against Latino/a students at UCLA. “Campus Climate has been an issue at UCLA as long as I’ve been a student, from Indian and Islander themed parties to ‘Asians in the library’,” said President of the American Indian Student Association Kenneth Ramos. Referencing a March 2011, incident where UCLA student Alexandra Wallace complained about “hordes of Asian people” in a YouTube rant known as “Asians in the Library.” Ramos was part of the early discussions about the creation of a multicultural center at UCLA, and currently sits on a steering committee which hopes to move the process forward. After a February 2012 hate crime where a group of UCLA students’ Westwood apartment door was vandalized with the slurs “dirty Meximelt bitches” and “Spic cunts,” students began organizing to address the hostile campus climate. In the same month, the UCLA student store carried a Billabong shirt which depicted the emblem of the Mexican flag, an eagle eating a serpent while perched on a cactus with the words “still filthy” written beneath it. This prompted a response from students beginning with a “Brown is Beautiful” rally, organized by M.E.Ch.A. de UCLA and Latino Greek organizations. Following the rally, a meeting was set with the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Janina Montero and other administrators, in which students presented a list of demands addressing the issues of campus climate at UCLA. The idea of a multicultural center was presented as part of a larger approach to addressing racial intolerance at UCLA, which also included support for ethnic studies departmental programming, strategies for implementing communities in conflict into the general education curriculum, and student input on the hiring of a new Admissions Director. According to a follow-up letter in response to the meeting, Vice Chancellor Montero stated that, “Student Affairs is prepared to work with you as well as other student groups, and the staff in the Community Programs Office and other campus partners to explore the possibilities and the program for such an entity at UCLA.” With support from the administration, students presented to the Student Activities Center Board Of Governors (SAC BOG) in order to
secure funding for a preliminary study. The purpose of the study is to look into the feasibility of building a multicultural center at UCLA. SAC BOG voted unanimously in May of 2012 to fully support “the concept of a multicultural center” and passed a resolution that stated, “SAC BOG will financially support a preliminary study that can more fully articulate those needs and how to effectively address them.” “It is clear that there is a lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding about certain communities on this campus,” according to the Community Programs Office Student Association’s (CPOSA) Internal Chairperson, Molly Katz, “The role of the unity center will be to facilitate bringing students together so they can learn about different communities in a positive way.” Student groups see additional value in the creation of a multicultural center both in terms of promoting culture as well as relieving the costly burden of renting other on-campus facilities for culture shows. “With the rising cost of Royce Hall, it’s becoming difficult to find appropriate spaces to rehearse and practice,” said Roman Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese Student Union (VSU). VSU hosts an annual student-run culture show at Royce with an attendance of up to 1800 people, which has an estimated cost of $15,000. “Having the Unity Center WIKIMEDIA COMMONS will provide us with the appropriate facilities to hold rehearsals at little to no-cost to students,” said Nguyen. Currently, student groups continue to meet with UCLA administration and are still discussing the concept of a multicultural center and its overall functionality. Looking forward, the limited buildable space on campus and the challenge of working around historic structures have yet to be addressed. “The process could take over 5 years and current students will not likely be on campus when the multicultural center is completed,” said Ramos.
“The role of the unity center will be to facilitate bringing students together so they can learn about different
communities in a positive way.” fall 2012 LA GENTE 9
Tee up with Lee Lopez UCLA golfer encourages aspiring Latina golfers Bernadett Leggis email@example.com
s Lee Lopez approaches the first tee of the golf course she is greeted with a welcoming “buena suerte” and a “sí se puede” from a golf course employee. It is common for Lopez to receive smiles and good wishes from Latino workers at various country clubs. Looking back, Lopez said, “They were always very supportive and excited that a young Latina was playing.” Growing up, Lopez and her family had no idea a future existed in women’s golf. Lopez started playing golf as a fun activity to do with her dad, and she did not start competing until she was 11 years old. Lopez said, “Clearly we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy especially in a sport where there are very few Latinas or Mexicans playing in it so we didn’t actually have help from people.” They were unaware of the ladies professional golf league (LPGA) or that college scholarships were available. They took it upon themselves to talk to people and to do the research in order to find out how to pursue golf competitively. Her dad not only to coached her, but also financed all her golf expenses. “My dad took out loans so he could take me to tournaments,” Lopez recalled, “He had to refinance the house when I was 14; people told him he was crazy for doing that.” Lopez’s father had to make these sacrifices because he knew that if his daughter had any chance in pursuing a competitive golf career she had to compete in out-of-state tournaments. So the more serious things became, the more they practiced; they practiced every day, sometimes even up to five hours a day. Lopez’s dad coached her until they hired a private instructor when she was 16. Lopez recalls in high school that she only knew three other Mexican female players. Everyone else was either Caucasian or Asian. When she practiced or played at different country clubs, she definitely felt that she was different from everyone else. Some people did not realize she was there to play golf, “I’ve definitely been asked at country clubs if I worked there.” However, Lopez said that she did not find it upsetting at all, but that she was proud of it, that she would think to herself, “Yes, I’m Mexican; yes, I’m here at your club.” She went on to say, “I was really proud of the fact that I was different, the way I stood out when I went to clubs…honestly it never made me feel bad, did I feel uncomfortable, yes sometimes. I certainly didn’t feel welcome
at certain places, but it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t welcomed.” Lopez has proved that Latinas can in fact make it in this sport. In 2008, she won a CIF Individual State Championship while she was a member of the La Serna High School golf team. In 2011, she was an important contributor to UCLA’s success in winning the NCAA National Championship Title. In addition, she has been named to the First Team Pac-12 Conference. She has been named as an NCAA First Team All-American and was also named an NCAA Academic Honorable Mention with a cumulative GPA of 3.3. And just as the workers at the country club would tell Lopez, “Sí se puede,” she wants to let all aspiring Latina golfers know that they too can make it. “It all starts with a dream, and then you just have to get up and go after your dream. Nothing happens just by dreaming, just by wishing, you have to work hard, you have to realize that you have to do what other people are not willing to do.”
Here are some terms you need to know before you are ready to hit the green: Tee Box: the starting point on each hole where a golfer begins The Green: a circular shaped area with a flag stick and a cup that the golfer is trying to reach to complete a hole Par: the number of strokes, or hits, a golfer is allowed for one particular hole http://www.easypars.com/common-golf-terms/ 10 LA GENTE fall 2012
Having the Right IDEAS Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success Regem Corpuz firstname.lastname@example.org
DEAS has a profound impact on its membership by motivating undocumented students to become “unafraid.” Through its legacy of advocacy work, IDEAS has provided resources for undocumented youth, connecting them with the campus to improve their college experience. “We have a different experience,” said Yanely Marin, “and IDEAS helps us to become better acquainted with our campus to help us succeed during our time in UCLA.” In nine years, IDEAS has grown from a small group at UCLA to a wellknown organization at the forefront of the immigrant youth movement. Established in 2003, IDEAS provides resources and support for undocumented students to guarantee retention in higher education. It also advocates for equal representation and immigration reform that recognizes the students’ contributions to society. When IDEAS was established it focused on making UCLA a more undocumented-friendly environment through student’s self-advocacy. This included educating the university’s financial aid office about the process required to reward and disburse private scholarship funds and creating the Bruin Payment Plan, which allows eligible students to make three monthly student fee payments. IDEAS helped
push the Ashe Student Health Center to provide medical services to students, despite their immigration status. Its next step was to inform the community. Challenging congress’s HR 4437, IDEAS demanded recognition of undocumented individuals’ presence and the struggles they face, which they describe as “coming out of the shadows.” In 2007, an undocumented student at UCLA and cofounder of IDEAS, Tam Tran, presented “Lost and Found,” a documentary telling her story, which could also be found in the book Underground Undergrads, released with the help of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center. In 2007, IDEAS held the first Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference (IYEC) at UCLA where they invited high school and community college students, parents, school counselors and faculty. The conference included a series of guest speakers, workshops, and other activities aiming to educate the community and empower those who are undocumented. IDEAS has addressed immigration issues through its yearly “Week of Action.” In 2004, IDEAS introduced the AB540 Project, which raised awareness about available resources to undocumented youth, parents, and high school counselors. It was not until the 2006-
AB540: Allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tution in public colleges and universities of California California Dream Act: Allows AB540 eligible students access to non-state funded scholarships and state funded financial aid Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children and meet key guidelines may be granted relief from removal procedures and eligible for employment authorization Federal DREAM Act: Provides a pathway to legalization for undocumented youth who graduate from high school and either go to college or serve in the military. HR 4437: Federal immigration legislation that criminalizes unlawful presence, allows states and local authorities to handle immigration enforcement, enforces border security and penalizes employers that hire undocumented workers
2007 school year that undocumented students were able to claim AB540 and pay in-state tuition. UCLA was the last UC to recognize AB540. That same year, IDEAS began working with Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, to expand its resources and efforts to address its plan of action. In 2009-2010, IDEAS helped push both the California and the Federal Dream Act. This week-long event was organized through phone banking, holding rallies, flyering, and other forms of advocacy on campus. In 2010- 2011, IDEAS promoted intersectionalities of identities some undocumented students may identify as, such as being part of the queer community. It addressed “coming out” as undocumented and queer and provided a safe place to discuss these intersecting identities. In 2011, IDEAS’ Annual IYEC celebrated its 5th year and saw a record breaking attendance of 1,400 people from all around California. Not only did IDEAS advocate, empower,
and bring awareness to issues affecting the undocumented community but it hosted various fundraisers, including one with Congresswoman Judy Chu that raised $8,000 in scholarships to support undocumented students’ access higher education. Currently, IDEAS has responded to Obama’s implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by hosting DACA clinics at UCLA with other organizations. “Undocumented Student Week” was renamed to “Bruins Without Borders Week” to demonstrate the intersectionality between the undocumented community with other communities. IDEAS continues to support and advocate for undocumented youth, acknowledging that the work is not yet over. Seth Ronquillo, an undocumented Filipino student and member of IDEAS and ASPIRE reflects, “Events like IYEC empower students to be more comfortable in sharing their status with others, [to become] more active in the movement.” fall 2012 LA GENTE 11
Closing Doors of Opportunity Abigail Noel Fisher vs University of Texas-Austin Tracie Sánchez email@example.com
am hoping that they’ll completely take race out of the issue in terms of admissions and that everyone will be able to get into any school that they want, no matter what race they are, but solely based on their merit and if they work hard for it,” said the plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, in a recent Los Angeles Times interview. Fisher is currently embroiled in a Supreme Court case, which could end race conscious college admissions processes. The dominant rhetoric among those who oppose affirmative action is that students should be admitted solely based on how hard they have worked, rhetoric deeply rooted in notions of meritocracy—the belief that success results from actions and traits under one’s own control. This is contradictorily aligned with the myth of the American Dream, our national ethos, in which everyone can participate equally and that hard work produces winners. Abigail Fisher,22, claims that the respondent (University of Texas) discriminated against her on the basis of race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Abigail claims that because admission policies at the University of Texas (UT) Austin favor African-American and Hispanic applicants over whites and Asian Americans, she was unfairly denied admission. According to UT Austin in 2008, the year Ms. Fisher applied, the university’s freshman class included more than 6,600 students, 1,713 African American and Hispanic students. Of those students, 216 were admitted only after admission guidelines had been challenged. The university automatically takes Texans who graduate in the top eight percent of their high school classes, but the remaining students are admitted based on a variety of factors used by admissions to choose students. Abigail Fisher was not in the top eight percent of her graduating class. With this in mind, the university said Ms. Fisher would not have been admitted regardless of race and continues to question whether Ms. Fisher has suffered such a great injustice that gives her a reason to sue. In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) the Supreme Court set a precedent for the use of affirmative action in college admissions. The court’s decision on the case rejected the use of racial quotas but said that schools could consider race as part of a holistic review of a student’s application. According to Patricia Gándara, Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA and author of more than 100 articles and reports on educational equity for racial and linguistic minority students, school reform, and access to higher education, “If race-conscious college admissions policies are completely terminated we can expect very similar result to those that occurred after admission policies were changed after California Proposition 209 where there were a sharp drop in the number of inquiries and applications from racial/ethnic minorities, even before policies took effect.”
Professor Gándara states that the court will be sending a powerful message to minority groups: “the doors to admissions have been all together closed.” 12 LA GENTE fall 2012
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Though race is specifically excluded from the criteria considered for admission to the University of California (UC), if the court rules in favor of Fisher, affirmative action supporters worry that UC’s “holistic review” process will be jeopardized and ruled as a violation of the U.S constitution. Advocates for race-conscious policies suggest the Fisher case is providing us with the choice of race-conscious policies or the re- emergence of segregation in higher education, as doors are closed for some of the most disenfranchised students that do not make the cut under the strict formulaic admission process. Kensley Davis, fourth year Political Science major and student researcher at the Black Male Institute stated, “Ending the holistic process will have devastating effects on highly selective institutions and holds the potential to alter the racial campus climate of institutions across the country.” Lourdes Gonzáles, a fourth year Gender Studies major and Ronald E. McNair Scholar, says it’s critical that the court “recognize that it is not impossible to have racially diverse and inclusive student bodies in selective colleges. But to achieve this goal requires that institutions move away from narrow formulaic approaches during admission process, which largely exclude minorities and other students with talents that are not easily measured by test and grades.” A decision by the court is expected by late June 2013. In the mean time there is considerable anxiety. The Fisher case has brought to the forefront two of the most debated topics: race and opportunity. For now, it’s hard to tell whether the doors of opportunity for students with unique life and educational experiences are closing, but it is only a matter of time before we find out.
The Two Perspectives of Affirmative Action Gentista explores both sides of the argument Magaly Chavez firstname.lastname@example.org
any assume that I automatically agree with a specific political ideology in regards to affirmative action because of the way I look or the background that I come from. As affirmative action gained more media attention with the recent Supreme Court case Abigail N. Fisher v. University of Texas, I was forced to reconsider my stance on the topic, and the more I thought about it, the more confused I became. As the country faces a rapidly changing demographic, there will be an increasing need for a highly educated work force and, unfortunately, our poor and the crippling education system will not be able to keep up. Opponents of affirmative action argue that society needs to step away from racial-based admissions because they cripple the education system. Many argue that the acceptance of minorities into elite institutions only affects minority students. In the long run, most minority students are not ready to compete against other students who are better prepared. This idea is called the “mismatch theory,” which also suggests that minority students should attend less competitive universities where they can be more successful. In addition to feeling outcompeted, many students may also feel isolated and tokenized because of the lack of diversity at such elite campuses. All of these theories and examples are present in the book Mismatch from our ever-favorite professor, Richard Sanders. The argument against affirmative action is somewhat fair, in regards to race. If we wish to move towards a progressive and egalitarian society we need to step away from the use of race in any system. What opponents of affirmative action do not take into consideration is the building evidence on the benefits of diversity and on the fallacies within the mismatch theory. Clear evidence can be witnessed in the amicus briefs for the current Supreme Court case Abigail Fisher v University of Texas, where piling research from various institutions shows that diversity in classrooms, not only on the basis of race but also on class, language, and sex, benefits everyone. Diversity in the classroom helps students experience a multitude of perspectives and actually helps them think in different ways. In addition, students are gaining a valuable multicultural perspective, useful for when they step out into the real world, due to the fact that most communities are multicultural and multilingual. It is also known that statistically, students are more likely to graduate if they are placed in highly competitive institutions, because they have access to richer resources and are, most importantly, surrounded by highly qualified peers. Aside from clear benefits and fallacies in most of the arguments, opponents do not like to discuss the ever-present historical discrimination that has occurred for decades against minorities, eventually bringing about the basis for affirmative action. No more than a lifetime away minorities were legally segregated, forced to attend inferior schools, and taught inferior academic syllabi, therefore creating a system that continuously failed minorities. This type of discriminatory history cannot be
Percent of 25 to 29 year old with a BA
forgotten because it has created a playing field that is inherently unequal, making it increasingly difficult at every step of the educational path for minorities to obtain a higher education. According to the American Council on Education, minority students at decreasing rates are attending institutions of higher education. The ACE report states, “Rates conceal large disparities among subgroups. Asian Americans aged 25 to 29 are at the top, with 58 percent holding a bachelor’s degree, followed by whites (36 percent), African Americans (18 percent), Hispanics (12 percent), and finally, American Indians (10 percent). These large gaps are unlikely to change without reducing disparities at each transition point in the educational pipeline.” Regardless of contradictory opinions for affirmative action, there lies a harsh reality. No other legislation has sent minorities to institutions of higher education like that of affirmative action. Pathways for minorities to enter institutions of higher education need to be rapidly set in place, as the Latino or Black education crisis is not a minority problem, but an American problem.
“Given these distressing trends, one would hope that we could turn our collective energy to addressing the appalling inequities in educational access. - Cheryl I. Harris and William C. Kidder
The Black Student Mismatch Myth in Legal Education: The Systemic Flaws in Richard Sander’s Affirmative Action Study fall 2012 LA GENTE 13
And the award goes to... Latino award show falls short of viewers’ expectations Savannah Smith email@example.com
ward shows are always a good thing...or are they? I asked myself this question as I watched the 2012 Imagen Awards—an award show that may or may not be familiar to some of you. I myself was unaware of its existence, although 2012 marked its 27th year. According to Imagen, its mission is “To recognize and reward positive portrayals of Latinos in all forms of media, as well as to encourage and recognize the achievements of Latinos in the entertainment and communications industries.” As I watched the show I expected to see a diverse range of categories and positive examples of Latinos in all forms of media. However, I was disappointed with the show’s inconsistent organization. The two categories that perturbed me were: Best Actress in Television and Best Young Actress in Television. In the first category, there were only three nominees: Rosario Dawson (for Five on Lifetime), Rita Moreno (for Happily Divorced on TV Land), and Alexa Vega (for The Pregnancy Project on Lifetime). Rosario plays a confident, career woman who helps her mother deal with breast cancer, Rita plays Fran Drescher’s hard knock, hilarious mother on Happily Divorced, and Alexa plays a young girl who fakes a pregnancy to call attention to the rise in teen pregnancy. My issue with these nominations is that the first two are made-for-TV movies, while the other is a scripted comedy show. Therefore, it is hard to make comparisons between the actresses with this incongruity. In the same breath, the Best Young Actress in Television category didn’t properly determine what fell under the “young” category. Francia Raisa (for her character Adrian Lee from The Secret Life of the American Teenager) was nominated in this category even though she is not representative of a “young” actress at age 25. Besides the fact that most of the nominees per category are not standardized, the actors and actresses in each category were either nominated because they: A. are Latino actors (regardless of the nationality they portray as their character) or B. are NOT Latino actors, but they played a Latino character.Take for example Will Ferrell who was nominated for Best Actor/ Feature Film for his character Armando Álvarez in La Casa de mi Padre. He falls under the category of a non-Latino actor playing a Latino character. However, some people feel that there is nothing wrong with this. Gabrielle Sevilla, a Los Angeles Film School student stated, “It shouldn’t be given to someone just because they are of a certain race. If WIKIMEDIA COMMONS they earned the award then why Will Ferrell
14 LA GENTE fall 2012
restrict them from it.” UCLA student Andrea Guzman shared a similar sentiment: “I think that if a non-Latino wins an award for playing a Latino character, they deserved it. It isn’t about the actor’s background, but how well they represented that character.” While I agree that there should be no discrimination, if this is a Latino award show that honors Latinos, then it is counterproductive to nominate non-Latinos. LAMC Student Andrea de la Cruz agreed, “It feels degrading to Latinos because a nonLatino won. It should be Latinos playing Latinos in general. Why are non-Latinos playing Latinos? It doesn’t make sense WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Alexa Vega to me.” Although the Imagen Awards has its imperfections, I believe that after nearly 30 years of existence they should be just as highly acclaimed as the ALMA awards. The panel needs to work to resolve discrepancies within the award show’s categories, nominees, and overall programming. That way Latinos will aspire to win a prestigious Imagen Award.
2012 Imagen Award Winners Best Primetime Program: Switched at Birth (Prodco, Inc. in association with ABC Family) Best Primetime Program: Special or Movie-of-the-Week: The Pregnancy Project (Barbara Lieberman Productions) Best Actor/Television: James Roday, Psych (USA Network) Best Actress/Television: Alexa Vega, The Pregnancy Project (Lifetime Television) Best Young Actress/Television: Bella Thorne, Shake It Up! (Disney Channel) Best Supporting Actor/Television: Carlos Gómez, The Glades (A&E) Best Supporting Actress/Television: Eva La Rue, CSI: Miami (CBS) Best Children’s Programming: El Perro y El Gato (HBO Latino)
arte y cultura
The American Flavor of Latin Music A look into the art exhibit at Arte AmĂŠricas in Fresno
Photo Essay by Erika Ramirez firstname.lastname@example.org
fall 2012 LA GENTE 15
arte y cultura
Revolutionary in art and in love A Chicana, lesbian, feminist showcases her art Jacqueline Espinoza email@example.com
t’s not hard to see why UCLA’s Cultural Afperspective as a self-proclaimed radical fairs Commission and Queer Alliance asked Chicana, lesbian, and feminist. She inAlma Lopez to showcase her art for their Nacludes her modern version of the revotional Coming Out Week 2012-2013 programlutionary female Adelita, who was not ming. Alma Lopez is a visiting professor at confined to her gender role but rather the University of California, Los Angeles and a was a soldadera who fought in the queer Chicana artist. Mexican Revolution, dressed in jeans Lopez’s Revolutionary Love solo exhibition and chucks. Nowadays, Adelita signifies was held in Kerckhoff Grand Salon from Octoa woman of strength and courage. ber 15 to October 27, 2012. Revolutionary Love Images of Coyolxauhqui, an Azevolves from her previous work as a digital arttec moon goddess, are also included. ist. Lopez said, “This is actually the big coming Her mother, Coatlicue became pregout show for me as a painter.” nant when hummingbird feathers fell In her previous work, her highly contested on her. Feeling dishonored, Coyolox“Our Lady of Controversy” digital image, Lopez auhqui meant to kill her, but the child portrays La Virgen wearing roses under her Huitzilopochtli in full armor killed her robe. In Sirena in Love, one can see the image instead and threw her head into the sky of La Virgin de Guadalupe and La Sirena emwhere it became the moon. In her art, bracing each other. Although the images were Lopez also includes a quote from ErnesLopez’s feminist perspective on the Virgin she to “Che” Guevara, an Argentine revogrew up seeing in her home and community, lutionary leader who organized against they evoked a “violent reaction,” such as hate the exploitation of Latin America by mail and threats from conservative religious the United States:“The true revolutiongroups and males. “I am not the first Chicana to ary is guided by great feelings of love.” reinterpret the image with a feminist perspecRevolutionary Love, is not just an tive, and I’m positive I won’t be the last,” said evolution of Lopez’s work but also a call Lopez. to action for others to realize that times Lopez’s exhibition also featured some of her have changed the way society thinks JACQUELINE ESPINOZA older paintings. Some of the works shown inlove should be shared, and to literally Gentista Jacqueline Espinoza poses with artist Alma Lopez during her first showcase cluded images of real Mexican female wrestlers, evolve their definition of love just as Che queer saints and double-tailed sirenas. Lopez Guevara’s quote suggests. explained that, “As an artist I am continually creating a visual vocabuThe exhibition’s moderator and member of Queer Alliance said, “We lary [and] language.” wanted someone who is loud and proud of who they are.” Lopez’s art Revolutionary Love incorporates Mexican figures portrayed through her speaks for itself. She uses bright hues of every color of the rainbow.
“The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”- Che Guevara
A quick glance at a collage from Alma Lopez’s exhibit Revolutionary Love
16 LA GENTE fall 2012
arte y cultura
A Taste of Havana Caribbean cuisine Cubano style Sun Joy Moreno firstname.lastname@example.org
ith smells of oregano, cumin, and sofrito emanating from the dining area, guests get a taste of Cuba even before savoring their appetizers. Located in Costa Mesa’s youth anti-mall The Lab, “Habana” offers a concise yet rich menu of traditional Cuban dishes, such as paella a la Habana and slow roasted pork. The majority of the dishes on the menu are the essence of Cuban cuisine: simple dishes that are extremely high in carbs (e.g. rice, bread, and beans), slow cooked, and sofrito-based. The restaurant itself features rustic, wooden furniture with an elegant twist and a patio area, comfortably shaded by umbrellas, that has a romantic and trendy ambience. This chic and modern décor, combined with the soft caribbean music playing in the background, creates a relaxing environment; the friendly and attentive host makes it all the more inviting. While the decor and atmosphere are excellent, the food itself is good. Bocaditos, the second most tasteful dish I had that day, is an appetizer consisting of pastry dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef, capers, olives, tomato, raisins, and topped with jalapeño cream. These are served on a bed of equally flavorful cuban cole slaw made from purple cabbage, tomato, bell peppers, green onion, which adds crunch, and red onion for sweetness. Unlike traditional cole slaw, the cuban cole slaw has oregano and a vinegar base as opposed to a cream base, which makes it tangier. The entree was good, but not as noteworthy as the appetizer. Upon arriving at Habana, I asked a few guests as well as the waiter for sug-
Habana, Cuban Restaurant
Hungry for more?
SUN JOY MORENO
SUN JOY MORENO
Banana Fritters with Ice Cream
gestions on the best dish. Unanimously and without hesitation, they all agreed: ropa vieja. One of the guests described it as “the epitome of Cuban food and an explosion of flavors.” After ordering it, I was presented with an artistically sculptured dish, radiating with color and almost too beautiful to eat. The ropa vieja (shredded flank steak) was served with a mound of warm white rice, black beans, sweet fried plantains, and two salty plantain chips. The actual taste of the dish, however, did not match its presentation. Though the meat itself, with a hint of oregano and cumin, was flavorful, it was not quite “the explosion of flavors” the guest had described. Similarly, although the rice was very tasty, having an appropriate amount of salt and pepper as well as a deep undertone of garlic, it fell short in its texture: it was not fluffy and tender, but a bit hard. The element that worked the most was the plantains. Serving them in two forms not only allowed for a pleasant contrast of textures, but also gave the dish a creative element. The sweetness of the fried plantains provided a nice balance with the saltiness of the meat. The fried plantains added an element of crunch, which contrasted with the softness of the other items on the plate. Though the entreé did not fully sway me, dessert, which was banana fritters with ice cream, mended those slight shortcomings. Simple and having just the right sweetness, the bananas wrapped in fried pastry dough, smothered in rum sauce, and served with rich vanilla ice cream were enough to make me pay Habana a second visit. I ended my meal with this dessert and a delicious café Cubano. Overall, there is no denying that Habana’s menu and flavors stay true to Cuban cuisine. Along with this, the friendly staff and the harmonious ambience, created by the combination of modern decor with traditional food, makes this restaurant one I would recommend.
fall 2012 LA GENTE 17
arte y cultura
Día de los Muertos: A Day of Remembrance Grupo de Folklórico hosts annual celebration on campus Madelinn Ornelas email@example.com
eople, with skulls for faces, roamed the dimly lit ballroom looking for food and friends. Grupo Folklórico de UCLA hosted Día de los Muertos on November 1st in Ackerman Grand Ballroom. Over four hundred people attended to watch the festivities that included performances from Grupo Folklórico, and special guest, Mariachi Torres de Mexico. The night started with an invocation of the four corners by Profesora Martha Ramirez-Oropeza and her Día de los Muertos class; afterwards, Mariachi Torres performed various songs. Grupo Folklórico de UCLA was the last performance, focusing on dances from the regions of Michoacán, Veracruz, and Yucatán. They dedicated their dances to their loved ones who have passed away. Face painting, pan de muertos, and an altar were available throughout the performances, and many people enjoyed the night dancing, eating, and hanging out with friends. “I think it was very beautiful the way they laid it out compared to last year,” said Ernesto Valles, a third-year Anthropology major. Día de los Muertos is an opportunity to celebrate and unite with the rest of the community, and remembering those who passed away. “The event wasn’t so much about dancing technically and perfectly, but it’s promoting that sense of community. I feel like this was a great showing,” said David Melendez, third-year Theater major, “The community is invited in. It’s family here and it’s friends here and it’s people from outside of UCLA coming in to transform the institution for just a little bit.” This tradition of remembering past loved ones continues to be celebrated within the Mexican community, but Grupo Folklórico wanted to make the night appealing to other people in order to create cultural awareness. “You just want to be able to promote openly cultural awareness on campus. Even though we are putting on this event we are trying to make it as educational as possible… Our Latino population only comprises 12-13% on campus and to be able to represent a little bit about Latino culture is important,” said Javier Borjon, third-year History major. Those who experienced it for their first time appreciated this celebration and with great attendance and positive reviews, Grupo Folklórico’s celebration of Día de los Muertos was a cultural experience that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. “Día de los Muertos is not something that we necessarily celebrate in my family but I have always been intrigued by it,” said Wendy Quinonez, recent graduate and EAOP worker, “I really like it: I like the face painting, I love the music, I love the imagery and the altars. I think it’s a perfect combination of aroma, of imagery, and of music. It’s a great representation of the culture.”
18 LA GENTE fall 2012
PHOTOGRAHPY BY MELISSA MERRILL
arte y cultura
Death Never Looked So Good Emergence of Popularity in Día de los Muertos tradition Jeanelle Horcasitas firstname.lastname@example.org
kulls, cadavers, and death…what do these all have in common? Popularity, apparently. Strolling the malls, streets, any hipster spots really—I’ve noticed an increase in these “deathly” products. At first, I thought that the popularity emerged from the growing awareness of the Mexican cultural tradition of Día de los Muertos. Then I thought—since when did Día de los Muertos become so mainstream? In the past years, I’ve noticed that the “skull” has become one of the most coveted products for consumers out there today. Not only that, I spot people every day with this infamous skull tattooed somewhere on their body. Although this cultural representation of Día de los Muertos has emerged as a popular image in society today, there are people who acknowledge the tradition, but also shed new light on its artistic significance. San Francisco State senior Alexis Scheuplein, shared her personal story behind her beautiful Día de los Muertos sugar skull tattoo inked above her left shoulder blade. “I wanted to show people that I’m proud to be Mexican, and having this artwork on my back depicted my pride,” said Alexis. “After my grandfather passed away in 2001, I began to practice altar making because he was such a big part of my life. So by the time I got my tattoo, I already understood the historical context behind it and by having family values incorporated and respect for my heritage, it only made the piece more meaningful.” While Alexis’ tattoo proudly exhibits her Mexican culture—how about those who don’t have that ethnic connection to Día de los Muertos—but also have this infamous sugar skull tattoo? Ross Pruitt, the Art Director for Hurley, had very different reasons for getting his tattoo.“I was motivated to get my skull because of the beauty of the design work on the skull. The details and decorations makes the skull look less dark.” Interestingly, while Alexis was motivated to get her tattoo for cultural and family reasons, Ross was motivated by the aesthetic value it holds. “I think that [the skull] has become really mainstream over the years. I don’t think people understand the significances of the day or celebration. I think it is looked at here in America as a pop culture type of art,” said Ross. Another art-lover from Hurley, John Fox, who also has a skull tattoo simply stated, “I just love the style of art.” As you can see, there are those like Alexis who have Latin roots and know the cultural importance behind Día de los Muertos. But there are other people like Ross and John, from non-Latino backgrounds, who are attracted to the sugar skulls purely based upon its aesthetic value. When cultural traditions such as this become commercialized and massproduced, there is the issue that not all people who buy and wear products fully understand this cultural tradition. However, Día de los Muertos is getting recognized nationally by both Latinos and non-Latinos. All in all, the skull has become a product that can be appreciated by people of all backgrounds, contributing to our diverse culture and enlightening those on both its cultural and artistic value. fall 2012 LA GENTE 19
arte y cultura
Giving Women The Spotlight Theater as a Medium to Properly Recognize Women Michael Reyes email@example.com
hear the pain behind the women’s voices, as the stage lights focus on them and they reflect on their past and passionately sing about a woman who came to represent their experiences: Popular entre la tropa era Adelita la mujer que el sargento idolatraba y además de ser valiente era bonita que hasta el mismo Coronel la respetaba. Although the authenticity of the woman in the corrido is arguable, “La Adelita” came to be a representation of women warriors who not only cooked, cleaned, and cared for the wounded soldiers, but who also fought in the Mexican Revolution. La Adelita is a woman of strength and courage. The play, Soldaderas, follows four women who come together to write a petition that will help them achieve proper recognition and respect for their contributions to the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). They tell stories of the war through their perspectives. As they continue with these stories it becomes obvious that Latina women are limited in the traditions that are passed on through generations. Behind this production is writer and director Rubén Amavizca-Murúa, who was born in Mexicali, Mexico and raised in Mazatlan, Sinaloa after his mother’s passing when he was 10 years old. Amavizca-Murúa uses theater to combat the stereotypes of women and represent them for what they really are—infinite in their roles, independent, and powerful in society. “I had strong women all through my life, starting with my [single] mother,” says Amavizca-Murúa. “I had many women mentoring me in life and art. I am the man I am thanks to all those women.” Amavizca-Murúa has been involved in more than two hundred theatrical productions. His plays have been produced in Spain, Belgium,
Puerto Rico, Iceland, and Mexico. His more wellknown plays include: The Women of Juárez, which conveys the femicide in the border city of Juárez and Frida Kahlo, which recounts the painful life of one of Mexico’s most celebrated female artists.
FRIDA KAHLO THEATER, RUBEN AMAVIZCA-MURUA
His latest production, Soldaderas, is a social critique on issues still relevant today. Women do not receive proper credit for their work and are still represented as being inferior to men. Women are criticized for choosing to do more than what their roles in society suggest. Those roles are ones dependent on men and do not allow sexual nor
educational freedom. The narrator of Soldaderas, an Aztec danzante, represents this timeless female subordination. The play begins with her telling stories of powerful female deities. Throughout the play she periodically takes center stage to tell Aztec myths of women and their active and important, yet unrecognized, roles in civilization. Her stories reflect the lives of the four female soldaderas. The female characters reveal stories of rape, abandonment, and of what they were forced to do to survive. The account of their positions and experiences in the Mexican Revolution build the emotionality and powerfulness of the play. Destroyer, one Soldadera who proudly wears the pants of her soldier uniform under her skirt, explains the guilty, yet pleasant, feeling of holding a gun. And Lupita, another Soldadera, explains her role as a caregiver to the children of the sergeant she served under. It is undeniable that women were of primary importance in the Revolution. Without them and their support for the male soldiers, the Mexican Revolution would have been a different fight. Despite the Soldaderas’ contributions, much of it is either misrepresented or unrecognized. Female soldaderas are often represented as lovers, instead of for their work. They are only accepted for their appearance, as the famous corrido “La Adelita” says: “era bonita que hasta el mismo Coronel la respetaba.” At the end of the play, the female characters come to terms with who they are. They understand that they have a voice and that they can bring change. They plan to continue with the petition and to improve the unequal conditions of Mexican women. “For equality—that’s what we have to fight for,” said Amavizca-Murúa, “That’s what the younger generations have to fight for.”
Wom•an / woom-uhn / noun. female, strong, independent, infinite.
Wom•yn /woom-uhn/ noun. Alternative spelling adopted by 70s feminists to declare that womyn were not derivative/secondary to men. FRIDA KAHLO THEATER, RUBEN AMAVIZCA-MURUA
20 LA GENTE fall 2012
For more information on upcoming performances visit fridakahlotheater.org
César Chávez for all People Presently, Juan Gómez-Quiñones is a Professor of History at UCLA. At one time he served as Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA. Professor Gómez-Quiñones was also a founding co-editor of Aztlan, International Journal of Chicano Studies Research. Professor Gómez-Quiñones specializes in the fields of political, labor, intellectual, and cultural history. From 1969 to the present he has taught university classes each year and has delivered papers before professional historical societies and other professional venues in the United States and Mexico.
ésar Chávez deserves to be honored because he served the common good making our state and country better by what he did. Chávez represents qualities important for young people to reflect upon in these days of hardship and strife for many across the world. César Chávez is a unique American figure with a history in which we can learn from to become a better citizen for our country and become a better person with our fellow human beings. Chávez’s uniqueness is blending and intetwining in his life positively, the public and the personal, the individual, and the collective, the pragmatic and the spiritual. He taught self-sacrifice to help others in a country with many people centered on self aggrandizement and on obtaining material goods at any cost. César Chávez worked tirelessly to enhance the personal dignity and well-being of the most vulnerable amongst us, the least attended of the working poor, the farm workers. He taught farm workers and all others
the importance of organizing to secure and maintain rights whether in the fields or the towns, in the public sphere or the private domain. He stressed doing for yourself, by doing for others with love. According to his teachings, if we act with love we act with consideration and respect for others, the result will be a more harmonious and just society. César Chávez was in life as he is in memeory a multi-dimension, multi-value person, who upheld ideals and practiced his ideals. He was nearly penniless all his life. He claimed no status due to professional standing or family connections. He did not copy other leaders in their ways and manners. César Chávez lived for the common good for the common people in all seasons which is why he deserves a commemorative day on the calendar and a place in our hearts. Juan Gómez-Quiñones Professor, History, UCLA
La Herencia Mexicana Lawrence Ledesma
fall 2012 LA GENTE 21
Uniendo dos mundos Roberto Reyna
ólo en un mundo más noble y tierno fuese posible que el amor adolescente transcendiera con toda facilidad. Cada quien tiene su mundo, el de él es más complicado—como cualquier otro mexicano que ha cruzado la frontera– casi tiene que romperse la espalda para ascender a una mejor forma de vida. El mundo de ella es más relajado, ya que no hubo fronteras por cruzar, no hay adaptación y como resultado tiene vida burguesa. Recostado, encogido, y desesperado, aún ni se le notan arrugas en la piel. Pero ya hace fila con señores con barbas gruesas, dientes amarillos, vidas repletas de historia ya que la vida de él le ofrece estar en esta situación. Diego Cabrera, hace la fila que le dará como recompensa unos cuantos dólares para el fin de semana. De sangre mexicana, se acuesta en su coche lleno de cosas que ha encontrado afuera de las casas ricas. Cuando lo ves de frente, sus rasgos mestizos son obvios por su cabello negro voluminoso, piel café, y ojos tristes los cuales reflejan su espíritu viejo. A pesar de no tener mucho años vividos, Diego ya tiene cicatrizada la vida como aquellos señores que también van a la venta para ver que sacan. Pero quién se pudiera imaginar que en una de muchas noches de estudio, Diego se topara con una moza que le cambiara la vida. Él recuerda como entró a la sala de escritura—y ahí se encontraba una mujer de cabellos amarillos, cada cabello brillando como el sol, hacía un contraste perfecto con su piel blanca. De pierna cruzada, botas de piel y blusón de material suave, era obvio que la muchacha era de dinero. Nervioso, se acercó con el pálpito de su corazón acelerado, apenas tuvo la fuerza para preguntar, “¿Qué tal? Creo que nunca te he visto por estos rumbos, eres... ¿eres estudiante de aquí?” Ella levanta mirada lo cuál
Relaciones tabú de la literatura y el cine Paris y Helena de Troya, la Ilíada La trágica amor de
Romeo y Julieta
Ennis y Jack, Brokeback Mountain Westside Story, Maria
Sandy y Danny, Grease 22 LA GENTE fall 2012
plasman a Diego, él nunca había visto unos ojos tan radiantes como los que Dios le ha creado a ella. Con media sonrisa le contesta, “No, estoy ahm, aquí solo visitando una amiga.” El aroma de los perfumes que se había aplicado ella –tal vez por la mañana– le coqueteaba la nariz ya que nunca había olido algo tan SAMUEL TEMBLADOR & MELISSA MERRILL dulce. Se resistió como todo caballero de acercarse y probar de la dulzura de aquellos labios rosados. Pero por el momento, él esta esperando que las luces de la Chevy que estaba enfrente de él se encendieran, y así pudiera entrar al drivein ya que por las mañanas es donde los puestos se ponen para vender cualquier chuchería. La memoria le fastidia. Mientras Diego se encuentra disgusto, el calor que le había causado las cobijas a Lily no la habían dejado dormir, abre los ojos y empieza a crear figuras con el grano del techo blanco, “Me mintió” ella pensó. En las esquinas de su memoria, la imagen del amor que había conocido hace tiempo desaparecía. Su cama de tamaño queen no la complacen. Falta algo, le falta alguien. Lily Parker, es solitaria. La más chica en su familia de sangre europea. Lilian “Lily” Parker tiene algo que la hace particular. Lily viene de una familia de dinero y su nombre es reconocido entre la gente de Hollywood. Su familia, como toda anglosajona—tiene, generación tras generación—una facilidad para vivir. Lily, siendo parte de una familia conservativa por naturaleza, rompió con este círculo de vida. Por el momento, todo transcurre con potencial de mucha historia entre sí. Destino ya tiene todo preparado, ya preparó la historia, el amor, el desamor, los remordimientos y las emociones que pasaron ambos enamorados. Lentamente le caminan las lágrimas sobre cada mejilla al abrir la carta que dice – Acompáñame a olvidar lo que nos impide a estar juntos, ayúdame a detener el tiempo y más que nada perdóname pero ahora cada quien con su camino...mi corazón será tuyo para siempre—No la termina de leer, hace bola la hoja de papel llena de mentiras. Se da cuenta de que como todo amor, él de ella llego a su fin.
fall 2012 LA GENTE 23
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