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


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El Popo Staff has 138 articles published.

Schools Are Regulated to Remaking and Remaking Themselves to “Fit” State Testing

in The Word is Text by
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By Jonathan Gonzalez

State testing is a method by which students are assessed and analyzed; it also provides a form of record keeping for the student’s academic progression.

The information that a standardized test is supposed to produce is information that pertains to what strategies are working and where they have been proven to work. That information is analyzed and used to form strategies to implement in the areas where students have graded lower, so that all students can be impacted in a positive way which will improve their academic achievement in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. This is the reason the state puts forth to control the way students are evaluated, but an underlying benefit, for them, is that they can use this information to hold schools, teachers, and support staff accountable for the students who are “underperforming.”

As it stands, the test is focused on a student’s ability to memorize, recall, and regurgitate the information they have learned thus far. It completely skips over the most important aspect of a child’s learning; the ability to implement and apply the strategies they have learned to real world problems. The test is also under scrutiny because it has no way to take into account how the different socio-economic statuses, or access to resources, affect the child. There are many factors that go into a student’s ability to perform during an exam. The pressures that are being placed on children to get them to do good on a test, are ones that aren’t part of their daily/weekly assessment routines. So, why does the state feel that forcing a child to regurgitate all the information they have learned, in a matter of about two hours, would provide an accurate reading of how the child is doing academically?

Along with the pressures to perform well for their own sake, children are being pushed to do well so that the school they attend can look better overall and hopefully attract more parents to enroll their child in said school the following year. The test eventually becomes a method by which parents use to find the schools that their children will attend. As stated by Rainesford Alexandra in her article “The Business of Standardized Testing.” “Turns out, academic conformity sells, and business is booming: As of 2011, Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, nonprofit owner of SAT, was paid $1.3 million. Richard Ferguson, former executive officer of ACT Inc., made roughly $1.1 million. Meanwhile, The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College reported that the value of the standardized testing market was anywhere between $400 million and $700 million.” Schools that perform better take in more students the following year, which means they will have a bigger budget the following year. This in turn means that schools that perform poorly, have less students attend the following year, which leads to a smaller budget.

So where does this leave Chicana/o/x and other communities that are ridden with low socio-economic statuses that do not have the access to the resources that would make their communities do better on state exams? It creates conditions for schools to market themselves outside the language of high scores which in the long run could fail students and regulate them to specific social tracks. Instead, they must both push their students to do well on the exams using the limited resources that they have while trying out different programs that attempt to improve their schools. Unlike schools that score well, they have to rely on making their school look appealing through the implementation of a variety of extracurricular activities. This also means that they are constantly changing teaching strategies to increase their scores. Changing teaching strategies includes changing environments and materials. This is not just a big change for the students, but for the teaching staff as well which does not promote a sense of continuity. This constant changing only leaves the school with an abundance of problems and a lack of solutions.

Unfortunately, the state test is more of a reflection of how our society is currently viewed in the sense that the rich stay rich while the poor get poorer. The state test is nothing more than a business model that allows this to happen, as it does not provide an accurate measure by which we can gauge our student’s academic progress. A new method of assessment is needed; one that is able to provide us with the information of how our future leaders are applying the skills they are learning to real world scenarios. Until this new method comes into fruition, low socio-economic communities are forced to claw, scratch, and work tirelessly to try and climb out of the deep economic hole that the state test has created.

Eskwilax Hour Empowers and Embraces all Walks of Life

in Podcasts by
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by Jose Medrano

Marco Ramos, Talent Scout/Co-Producer (Left) and Efrain Martinez, Founder/Co-Producer (Right).

Helping community artists overcome their fears, The Eskwilax Hour provides a platform that empowers and embraces all walks of life. I recently sat down with the show’s producers Efrain Martinez and Marco Ramos to discuss the origins and future of their Facebook Live show. Having been interviewed on Episode 149, I was immediately fascinated by what The Eskwilax Hour does to help local artists gain exposure and discuss their art. First airing in 2015, The Eskwilax Hour is now well-known name on the streets of Boyle Heights.

Live episodes of The Eskwilax Hour air Fridays 4-6pm on

You can watch past episodes here:

Follow on IG:

If you are interested in appearing on the show, you can direct message The Eskwilax Hour through their above listed Instagram, or by direct messaging Marco Ramos at

Support Efrain’s coffee shop:

Zapotec Cafe

2310 Whittier Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90023

Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm

Fri-Sun 8am-3pm

Fear and Anxiety: A Visit to the Doctor or Just the Thinking of the Visit

in The Word is Text by
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By Guadalupe Guzmán and Jonathan Gonzalez

What makes visiting the doctor such a potentially dreadful experience for Chicano/Latinos? The question of going to be seen by a doctor doesn’t normally arise when one needs to go, and it often leads to finding out crucial information about one’s health that usually comes too late. Although many would wager to say that the fear is attributed to a phobia, the reality is that the fear is linked to anxiety that stems from various other issues.

The fact that Latinos are not significantly visiting the doctor has never been more apparent than it has been in recent years. According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control, when viewing the numbers of emergency room visits in 2014, Hispanics made up only 15.39% of all visits in the United States. The numbers are saying, that even though going a visit to the emergency room consists of circumstances that can’t wait, Hispanics would rather stay at home and deal with the problem themselves.

Because of the selective negligence, we have also seen a rise in illnesses that could have potentially been avoided had the doctor been visited. By following a physician’s advice and scheduling an appointment at least twice a year, the patient would be able to keep track of their health and how it is progressing. As it currently stands, a study done by the American Diabetes Association has shown that the “prevalence of total diabetes among all Hispanic/Latino groups was roughly 16.9% for both men and women, compared to 10.2 percent for non-Hispanic whites.” The association also claimed that the numbers were linked to “a low rate of diabetes awareness, diabetes control and health insurance.”

The fear of scheduling an appointment, or going to the doctor, is often considered to be attributed to latrophobia, which is a fear of doctors and treatment centers. Contrary to this belief, the fear actually stems from anxiety brought on by a lack of knowledge, a language gap between doctor and patient, and from a lack of financial stability. Collectively, Latinos choose not to go to a doctor because they often either misunderstand or don’t understand what the doctor is telling them. This can be attributed to either a lack of knowledge of basic medical terminology or to a language gap. A visit to the doctor is not a pleasant one because one is often going to get themselves checked out to make sure that they are in good health, however, the possibility of something being wrong is looming over them. If there is a chance of receiving unwelcome news, one would prefer to be in an environment in which they feel as comfortable as they possibly can. The fact that most doctors only speak English, can make patients feel uncomfortable as they will be spending their time trying to decipher what the doctor is trying to explain to them.

Lastly, the big issue that plagues our community, is a lack of insurance. The topic of immigration neighbors the issues at hand because Latino’s fear that if they are in the United States undocumented, then their situation will be brought to light if they attempt to sign up for basic government medical insurance; this has only worsened now that the Trump Administration has come into power. Even the number of people going to clinics has decreased exponentially because of the fear of deportation or government action against them. As it is, Latino wages lack financial stability that a rise in the cost of medication in recent years has caused an even bigger decline in medical visits. Latinos fear that the medication that they will be prescribed will be out of their budget. According  to an Atlantic article, “Why Many Latinos Dread Going to the Doctor,” many prefer “treating [oneself] without a professional doctor’s help.” The treatment then varies between different herbal or “home” remedies that may not be effective. Not to say, they home remedies do not work.

The issue then becomes, “how exactly do we help ourselves overcome this ‘fear’.” There are many obstacles that we must overcome, but the main thing that we have to focus on should be education. We need to educate ourselves as to the events that ensue as consequences for not visiting the doctor. We also need to educate ourselves about the different financial opportunities that are available in terms of finding programs that help people get the medical assistance they need without the fear of being turned over to the government.

Lastly, we also need to become educated and become doctors ourselves. The Latino community is greatly underrepresented when it comes to Latino doctors. If there were more Latino doctors, the community would feel more at ease going to see a doctor that they can relate to.  It is important to realize that, as we become educated and grow as a people, we should understand that we are not only seeking this knowledge to better inform ourselves, but also to empower ourselves.

The El Popo Poetas: March 2018

in The Word is Text by
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Edited by Jose Medrano

As members of the latinx community, our voices are often silenced, our words are often erased. Popo Poetas seeks to provide a space for our voices to shine through the art of the written word. The following pieces of creative writing come only from the minds of latinx artists.

Popo Poetas’ April edition will include works of art as well as creative writing. Send your artwork and writing to to be considered for next month’s post. (DEADLINE: April 9th).

Beyond The Horizon

What is beyond the horizon, I ask myself today
What is beyond the horizon and why am I afraid
To seek my own while I stay home
Beyond the horizon are hopes and dreams
Of those who choose to allowed them to fall through the seams
Is that where my dream is
Beyond the Horizon , A place my heart tells me seek
A place where everything seems free
Beyond you
Beyond Me
I see the birds fly away to the horizon everyday
I look and dream, but then I see my reality
A reality full of shattered dreams and broken hearts
My heart is there beyond the horizon
A place I will never be
My heart is beyond the horizon
A place of hopes and dream
My hearts is beyond the horizon
A place I Will never be
– J. A. G.


You swish once
You swish twice
You swish a couple of more times
Like mouthwash, you don’t really mind the words in your mouth
But you much rather have it not in and just right out
Now what does that mean?
Well you understand it for the most part
You think
I mean your parents speak it
Your mother breathes it
Your dad eats it
Your sister misses it
The other one knows it
So where does that leave you?
You awkwardly fumble with the sounds and accents
The heat in your ears reminds you of your mother’s spicy food
Your aunts and uncles ask questions but what does this mean?
What does that?
You once understood
Not long ago, a chubby child, much like you in appearance would know
They could easily talk and understand
Very small and clumsy at walking, but no tumbling and falling with the letters
Tears of embarrassment and shame fill your eyes
You once knew
You once understood
So where did it go?
– Sky Mireles

I fly as night falls
silk, midnight, ebony
I am a whole new entity
When darkness enters me
Formless in abstract thoughts
I find myself caught
In a dark robe of what I once fought
mighty ego to diffidence
no vigilance to the difference
a loss of my innocence
– Evana Gomez, IG: @evxna


i found myself
nobody wanted to see what he saw in her. they couldn’t imagine how he felt for her. she was
too chaotic
too complex
a contradiction.
too difficult to deal with
to handle
to control.
when she became aware of the mess that she was, she promised herself not to change for anyone who would be ashamed to be around her.
she would strive for perfection even though her hands shaked too much and she could never paint her nails neatly.
she wanted to be what was once desired. no longer the victim.
no longer the outsider.
no longer the person who is talked about but the person who talks and makes an impact.
her own hero because no one was worthy of solving her problems.
it didn’t matter if she perplexed others as long as she stopped wondering who she was and how she wanted to live and what is her purpose.
her own understanding was fulfilling.
– Annalice Sandiero, IG: @chmpgneroom

Soy Morena 

Piel de canela
Eso es mi verdad
Color tan dulce
Que el mundo niega

Cabello negro
Que refleja mis raíces
Ojos oscuros
Que reflejan lo más puro

El pasado es mi presente
Tengo sangre indígena
Eso es mi orgullo

– Ivonne Flores, IG: @lasbrujitaz

Extract from a novel I’m working on, Emma De Arcaute

I used to be an actress, not a very popular one. Not enough Meryl, not enough Audrey… But I was still devoted to my craft. To feel and make other people feel. I used to perform as a widow and I repeated my re-lived sadness everynight like a curse. I was as dumb and innocent as the intentions of my character: always forgetting my mistakes to find myself repeating them again and again. Who would choose such an inescapable destiny?

My intentions were authentic and it didn’t take much time for people to see how much I shined in the dark. It still didn’t take much time for me to dry out. What happens on the inside is that your soul starts to rot, you start carrying an unbearable heavy weight on your chest and your eyes turn into the darkest clouds. You find yourself taking steps, while lifting desperation but it’s going to take years to actually understand what’s happening inside of you. You’re falling apart because your personality was destroyed through training. In adulthood, you’re left with nothing but the most unbearable awareness of humanity. As a little girl I never understood what they meant when they said artists aren’t capable of loving. As far as I’m concerned, I’d never call myself one – in better words I’d be a cheater.

They need to restore their emotions. They aren’t just destroyed by their personal life but mainly because of their work. When you’re young you haven’t wasted all of your love yet. We born as givers and lovers of life. Then, time starts its countdown and you start sharing. In this job the hardest part isn’t using your seasons but to overfill your rations. What you’d give in one time becomes ten times more than it would have been in that first try. Everyone makes their way through solutions… Have you ever become a bee? Because that’s what they do, but don’t tell them. Despite what you may be thinking – no, they don’t transform into working machines, they start wandering among flower fields. Difference is attractive and captivating, especially when you’ve tasted, felt and lived every shade of emotion. While they think they’re looking for one in particular they’re actually becoming the wind of a not-so-surprising storm. There they are: dancing through poppies, craving for something new, asking for a colder breeze on their cheeks. Twisting from flower to flower, because when you don’t have – you steal.

Arlene Mejorado, Local Artist Teams Up With “We The People” Campaign

in The Word is Text by
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by Cynthia Cervantes and Rachel Rosete

Image by Arlene Mejorado
Pershing Square Los Angeles Photo by Arlene Mejorado

Growing up in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, Arlene Mejorado was exposed to the vast ethnic backgrounds and was able to gain a diverse perspective that led her to become not only a great multimedia artist but a great advocate.

Her love for photography began with a trip to Chiapas, Mexico at the age of 21. She captured many stories through her experiences of a first-generation Chicana. In 2013, Mejorado received a degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, Austin where she received many grants and awards for her art.

She has photography publications, collections, solos, and group exhibitions.  Mejorado is a photographer and videographer that specializes in creative documentary projects and visual story making.

Mejorado discovered her passion for art when she was a young teenager, but she did not pursue it until she was in her early 20’s. She is a self-taught artist who took the opportunity of going forward with her love for art thanks to community workshops and online help.

Mejorado’s favorite equipment to work with is a 5D Mark III that she uses with a 50mm fixed lens. It is her favorite equipment because it gives her a closer and more honest view of whatever subject it is that she is trying to capture.

She began her latest project after she teamed up with WE THE PEOPLE campaign. Aaron Huey who is the founder of The Amplifier Foundation. He contacted her after he saw some of her portraits and developed an interest in the themes that she used to create many of her pieces of art.

She was also asked how she continues to stay productive  everyday. Her productivity does not really rely on a schedule she does her work as it comes that is how she believes that her artistic side is shown the most. What she does do on a daily basis is meditate and have conversations with people that have a meaning in her life. That is a part of her day to day motivation.
On her website, Mejorado demonstrates strong passion for recognizing vibrant and diverse communities.


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