Chicana/o Studies – Publishing an Alternative View Since 1970 – CSU, Northridge

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El Popo Staff

El Popo Staff has 172 articles published.

Street Venders Attacked

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by Malia Hurley

The tragic death of Fresno street vendor Lorenzo Perez was not merely an isolated incident, but one of the many recent hateful attacks on street vendors. A little more than a week later in Oakland, paletero man Hector Hernandez Patino Oakland was robbed, injured, and had his cart destroyed. These are just two of the many acts of violence that have happened against street vendors since March of the previous year. Though some may chalk these attacks up to simple robberies, they are a form of hate crime because they are a product of the way non-white immigrants (especially undocumented ones) are treated in the United States. Because they are placed on such a low rung of this society, they are at risk for being victims of un-checked violence. Societal standing, coupled with being older and more vulnerable, makes them an easy target for thieves and other criminals looking to prey on those who are perceived as weak. 

In response to these brutal acts of violence on our beloved community members, groups like Tha Hood Squad Unity Patrol in Fresno have organized voluntary patrol sessions to protect street vendors as they conduct their business. GoFundMe’s have also been made to give back to those who have had their carts destroyed or medical bills to pay. In Stockton, two groups known as Stockton’s Finest and 209 Gloves Up Guns Down arranged a Cruise For Change event to raise awareness. One of the organizers, Mr. Medina, describes the details of planning the event, part of which involved car club members inviting Street Vendors to the park and promising safety. In an unknown place in California, A video on TikTok shows two individuals standing up for a man selling flowers who was moments away from being robbed. An unknown woman tells a vendor, “get your flowers, nobody is going to be doing nothing,” while protecting him from a man who had just thrown his flowers after attempting to rob him. 

Though the community has done a great job at coming together to offer protection and stand up for vendors, it is also the responsibility of our leaders to condemn the actions of those attacking street vendors, and to also actively educate Americans on how misconceptions about minorities and immigrants can result in hate crimes. Our leaders set the example for how each group in society is to be treated. If they do not acknowledge and assist the struggles, then the people are left under the assumption that these lives are not valued and they are free to attack them with little to no pushback.  We need to let our local government know, whether it be governors, mayors, etc, that this is an issue that they need to address.  In the meantime though, it is important that we continue with community policing and continuing to thrive where our leaders have failed. 

A Brown Girl Who Does Not Belong Here or There

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by Tania Reyes

It’s hard to find your identity when you feel like if you don’t belong anywhere. You know where you are from, but yet that place does not feel like home. Where people, your own people look at you, differently. Just because you may not speak or act the same way that they do.

I came to this country when I was 13 years old. My family and I migrated from El Salvador to California. My parents decided to bring me and my brothers so that we could have a better future. They knew that if we stayed in El Salvador, we were never going to have the same opportunities that we would have here in California. It was a tough decision they made.

But, I am now glad they took that decision for us. Coming here was a total change for all us, first of all we didn’t speak the language. With time we started getting used to our new life-style, but always missing the people we left back home. I started going to school a few months after I had learned the language, and was able to help my parents translate whenever we would go out. It was a little weird at the beginning, because we always had to look for someone who spoke Spanish.

I was a little shy and still not able to pronounce some words correctly. After a few years later we went back to El Salvador to visit some of our family members who are still over there. I was excited that after so many years I was going to be able to see my family again. It was not what I expected Everything had changed so much, everything and everyone looked different. I remember every time I would speak my cousins would laugh and tell me to say it one more time because they like the way I would say things. I didn’t understand what they meant by that, I thought I was speaking just like them, but they didn’t see it that way.

I didn’t like sleeping over there, everything was so different. There was so much noise, and there were bugs everywhere. When we finally came back, I realized that things had changed. I was waiting so long for the day I could go back just to find out that the place that once was home did not feel like it anymore. That’s when I thought, I am not from here, but also I am not from over there so where do I belong?

Chicanx/Latinx in Higher Education: Si Se Puede!!!

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By Juan Zendejas

Manuel was excited to start applying to companies through online platforms like indeed.com. He anticipated he would be hired quickly because of the strong need for electrical technicians. His only big criteria was to stay close to home in Los Angeles, CA and he did not care if he worked for a small or large organization. Now that he was finishing his two year program he could see himself joining the workforce, getting experience and eventually growing with his employer. Maybe one day he would become a Forman Assistant if he connected with the right Electrical Engineer that he could work under.

His two years of commitment toward his schooling would soon pay off and his parents, now U.S. Citizens who originally immigrated illegally from Mexico, could not be happier.

This story is a common thread among people from various Latino communities in the U.S. and it is a good one to hear. Any education is better than none, especially because it helps your earning power in the the workforce. Manuel was going to go from earning $13.00 per hour to $16.00 after receiving his certificate.

You can find people of Latino descent working in jobs like construction, electrical technician, automotive technician, paralegal, education assistants, nursing assistants or nanny, among others. These jobs, although challenging in their own right, are usually lower paying jobs and do not require a degree in higher education like a bachelors, masters or doctorate. Should the Latino community pride themselves more on higher education rather than working as soon as possible to earn an income?

People of Latino descent are preferring to work hard in the workforce rather than work hard in the classroom to earn degrees. If this trend is flipped it will prove to be more fruitful in the long run for Latino individuals and their burgeoning communities. The number of Latinos in the workforce is great but the lack of Latinos in higher education is alarming.

In 2020, census.gov estimated that there are about 60 million Latinos living in the U.S.; this number reflects about 19% of the population. At the same time, the Center for Economic and Policy Research reported that only about 15% of all Latinos have a college degree. This mainly included Latinos with 2 year associate degrees.

Shockingly, the American Council on Education reported in 2017 that only 3.9% of Latinos have a Masters Degree and less than 1% have a Doctoral degree.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S., completing a bachelor’s degree increased yearly earning potential by nearly $20,000, and a master’s degree attainment increased yearly earning potential by nearly $30,000.

The types of jobs and employment that Latinos tend to seek is reflective of the education that they have or do not have. If Latino people are not getting their degrees, how can we expect them to be in lead roles like Foreman, Engineer, Doctor, or Research Scientist?

To help with this issue, it is imperative that Latino’s discover the benefits of higher education early in their lives. As Latino students progress through school and begin looking for an institution of higher education, it is vital that they have access to individuals and support networks that can guide them in the process. Life experiences, mentors, parents who are open minded are certainly part of the equation. When Latino adolescents hear, “Hurry up and work” while living at home with their parents, they may do exactly that and will not hesitate to get into the workforce before earning any type of degree or maybe a quick one. Many will look back in later years and wonder about not putting as much effort into schooling as they did trying to go to work and may regret not going further in their education.

As the message begins to change in Latino homes about earning degrees in higher education versus getting out and working we will see a huge increase in higher level and higher earning positions among this community.

In a report called, The Changing U.S. Workforce – The Growing Latino Demographic and Workplace reported, “While increasing the number of Latinos who obtain STEM degrees is imperative, raising the educational attainment of Latinos in general is perhaps the best way to ensure that Latino students are prepared to fill the jobs of tomorrow.”

The nation’s Latino population is projected to grow to 119 million and be 29% of the US population by 2060 (U.S. Census Bureau). These numbers mean that latinos need to push education more than ever to ensure that we can get a piece of the pie with high level employmemt. With an increase in educational status the Latino population will have a greater impact politically on a local and national level and will be seen as an educated community with high paying jobs.

“Si se puede,” is a powerful saying in Latino communities that is often associated with working hard in your job. Keeping that mindset and using it in the area of attaining ones education will help Latino communities prosper in the U.S.

Many of the fastest-growing occupations of the future such as Therapist, Engineering Scientists, Program Data Analyst, Computer Scientist and Doctors who work on the cutting edges of technology will require more education than an associates degree and Latinos should go after those degrees before entering the workforce. It will certainly pay off in the long run.

Ponganse las pilas y estudien! Si se puede

Skipping the Lines

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by Tatiana Portillo

On Saturday, we had our third covid-19 clinic at work.

It was hectic, yet the process was smooth. We are getting anywhere from 80-200 patients per day. We currently have only one pharmacist to give the vaccinations.

The company announced that board of pharmacy approved for pharmacy technicians to give vaccinations because of the shortage in healthcare providers.

The pandemic has shown us all that we are not ready to overcome the virus. There are shortages on doses and those who can vaccinate… or so they say. I think this is great but also scary. Now, technicians will be able to assist pharmacist during the pandemic. Are pharmacy technicians qualified to give shots? We are currently taking classes and modules to prepare us for the upcoming clinics. Every technician is also practicing hands on by injecting each other with saline. The length of the processes depends on the technician’s speed. This program will help, and the clinics number of daily patients should increase once everyone is certified.

On another note, why is it that our local patients have not been able to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated but affluent people are? We had patients come from other communities while the minority group within our community have not been able to get any appointments.

People from san Diego, Beverly hills, west la, etc. came to get the doses that should have been distributed to our patients. Is our community going to be last to be vaccinated? Are we less deserving because of our economic status?

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