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Latinx Parental Expectations

in The Word is Text by

by Gustavo De La Rosa

Latino parents have high expectations for their children’s education. Latinos have many reasons, but for the most part, parents want their children to have a better education than they had themselves. Many Latino parents did not go to school or dropped out halfway through their education back in their home country. They had different expectations.

As they immigrated to the United States, the parents did not want their children to repeat the same cycle. Instead, the Latino parents want something good for their future.

What does it mean to have high expectations within the Latino community? It is having a high standard for children to finish high school and attend a university. It means to do better and succeed in life more than your parents have. The expectation of the parents does have an impact on children’s education because it helps you gain confidence. Most parents coming from a low-income environment want their children to achieve high goals since they were not able to because they did not have the same opportunity that their children now have. In general, everyone wants the best for their children, to succeed in most cases, and children can feel a large amount of pressure due to parent’s high expectations.

What do Latinos parents expect their children to do with their education? Three careers go around in many Latino families. It’s either a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. These are the most common career paths parents want their kids to go. In reality, the children themselves do not even know what they want to do with their education. Most parents within the Latino community think that you need a college degree to be successful and have a stable life. Although high school graduation rates have improved over the last 20 years, Latinx students are not graduating high school in larger numbers. And of those who graduate, only about around 35% of enroll in 4-year or 2-year colleges.

As a kid, elementary schools tend to give high hopes at a young age. An example is when teachers would ask you to stand in front of the class and ask you what you want to be when you grow up. Many children would say they want to be a doctor, firefighter, or police officer, and teachers would go along with them. Once you get to middle school nothing progressive happens for your “dream job”, and you go with the flow. Then you graduate and go on to high school. Expectations and pressure go up for you as a student. You need to get good grades for colleges and try to get accepted into a 4-year university. Latino parents need you to start picking what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, something that brings good income. When you tell them you are going down a specific path, the parent will either support or oppose your choice. Latino parents want their children to choose a career path that will make them happy, or the parent may even tend to choose for their children because they believe it is a better choice to pursue.

Last year, there were a lot of young people that decided not to continue with their education. Instead, they proceeded on going straight to work or to start a small career path that will get them stable enough. Due to the pandemic, there was a lack of support for many young people. Some of them decided not to continue their education. I interviewed a few people about their reasons for not going to college, and there were similar responses. Some said that school wasn’t for them or that it was too much money when paying out of pocket. I asked them, “What did your parents say when you told them you were not going to school anymore?”

“My parents didn’t mind as long as I pay my rent and not be lazy at home. My parents will not bother me at all. The one that is being pressured is my older brother. He is in his third year of college studying to become an accountant. The pressure is real even though he works and goes to school to buy his books.”

I also interviewed a father’s point of view on what they think about their kids’ education. He responded, “They have to give all they have because I didn’t have an opportunity to go to school. I would have loved going to school, but I didn’t. While my other sibling did get to go, I had to work. There were many times when my kids were young, and they would ask me for help doing their homework. I wouldn’t even know how to answer the question. I would turn him down and tell him I was busy and would send him to his older sibling for help, but the truth is I didn’t know how to help my kid. That is why I go hard and expect a lot in their education so when they have their kid, they can help them out and not repeat the situation I was in when they were kids”. The expectation in a Latino education is high because they want a better life for them, and they want to avoid repeating the same cycle of life they had.

Mom Guilt: Going to College

in The Word is Text by

by Daniella Flores

Moms feel guilty if they focus on anything else other than their children. As I’m finishing my CSU applications, I received good news. My partner and I were expecting our third child. I had acceptance letters from different Universities, yet I asked myself, do I hold off a year or so to focus on my newborn child? Or should I continue to work towards my bachelor’s degree? Does that make me selfish if I choose to take classes? Moms worry that they won’t be able to balance time with school and family time. In my case, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time with my newborn child.

As I began my first year at the University of Cal State Northridge, three days later my baby boy was born. The question that moms ask themselves are, how can I balance motherhood and be a student?  Will I feel guilty focusing on class lectures and homework instead of being with my baby?  In the article, “Motherly” the text says, “the lie that if you are a mother you shouldn’t be doing anything else and that if you are that your children are somehow not getting everything they need from you”. This a complete lie that a lot of moms can’t see. Society and Culture add mom guilt for spending time on yourself. You can go to school and still be a good mom. You can spend time with your children and then work on your research paper.  

How do I balance my time with online lectures, doing homework, studying, postpartum, and a newborn? I don’t. There’s no such thing as balancing school and being a parent. But we try our best. I continue to go to school, be a good mother to my children, spend sleepless nights and spend my days multitasking with breastfeeding and doing homework. This doesn’t make us moms less of a mom. In fact, it should make us stronger mentally and physically. Because how cool is it that we choose to work on something that we like while we get to take care of little humans. In the article “Quartz at Work”, the author Lauren Groff was asked a question, “how you manage work and family?’ The author replied with saying ‘until I see a male writer get asked this question, I’m going to respectfully decline to answer”.  For the majority part (compared to men) women get shamed for returning to work or returning to school after having a baby or spending time with girlfriends and night outs. Yet, you hardly hear someone shaming a dad saying he’s working too many hours. Mom guilt has stopped many moms to pursue with their academic plans or careers or simply staying sane. 

I’m not saying to ignore your children and focus on school. What I’m saying is prioritize your children, but work towards what you want to accomplish. According to the article “Motherly”, “it’s okay to be a mother and a student. It’s okay to have playtime and homework time. It’s okay to work hard at being a mother and work hard at being in school”. School is hard as it is, let’s not stress over “mom guilt”. I say prioritize your children because at the end of the day everything we do, including our academic plans and career, is for our children. 

“What to the [African American] is the Fourth of July?”

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by Katarina Machmer, Special to El Popo News Online from Germany

Ms. Machmer was an exchange student from Germany who wrote for El Popo News Online.

What does the 4th of July mean for black people in the U.S.? Frederick Douglass, a former slave, abolitionist and author, asked this question in a speech he held in 1852.

On the national holiday, the U.S. celebrates the values trumpeted in the constitution – freedom, justice, and equality for all. In reality, however, the country was founded on something else. It was founded on the back of slaves whose labor let capitalism thrive and established the nation as we know it today. While they were exploited and plundered, white Americans proudly declared to live in the “land of the free and the brave.” For African Americans, the promises made in the constitution of the United States never came true. Nonetheless, they are still celebrated each and every year on July 4th

So, what does this holiday mean for African Americans in 2020? What does it mean for other minorities in the U.S. who are also facing discrimination, exclusion, and injustices? What does it mean amid waves of demonstrations flooding the country and the whole world, with protestors fighting for the justice African Americans have never experienced but always especially deserved?

The death of the black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer has made people all over the globe go on the streets and demand an end to systemic racism. In Germany, where I live, media have even debated about whether the situation in the U.S., which served as a catalyst for all the activism worldwide, would end in a civil war-like scenario. America currently appears to be a volcano – one that has finally erupted after a period of subliminal simmering. Looking at it from the outside, the tumultuous sixties seem to be back, and with them the rebellion against racial oppression. In addition, the country fights another war. It fights against the coronavirus, which – here we go again – disproportionally affects African Americans. Black people are at a much higher risk to catch the virus than white Americans are, for example because they work jobs which can’t be done from home. The economic situation of African Americans, however, is only one of many examples that can be traced back to the results of plunder and oppression at the hands of white people.

That said, the 4th of July 2020 again reveals a hypocritical democracy, one that isn’t accessible to every U.S. citizen. The holiday means to live in a country infested with racism. In addition to the issues the coronavirus causes African Americans are continuously targeted and killed by the police. Police brutality has always been disproportionally exercised towards African Americans. Now, the demonstrations finally shed light on this injustice. But while many are in solidarity with the protestors, there are still a lot of people who do not see the systemic racism that African Americans are exposed to, or they entirely ignore it. Many even deliberately fight this problem’s recognition, advocating for racist campaigns hash tagged #Whitelivesmatter. Even posts like #Alllivesmatter are problematic in the context of the demonstrations. Yes, all lives matter, but Black Lives Matter protests are happening because it’s black people who are being targeted.

In 2020, the 4th of July is celebrated in a country whose president planned to hold his rally in the city of Tulsa where mobs massacred several hundred black people in 1921. The rally should take place shortly after George Floyd’s death. It should even take place on the black community’s actual, but unofficial and unfortunately widely unknown holiday: Juneteenth, the day to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S. This day has not become a national holiday so far.

It must be acknowledged, though, that while the place selected for the Trump rally in June had the capacity to host 19000 people, only 6200 came. So maybe there is hope. America won’t suddenly, maybe not even eventually, live up to its ideals. The country still has a long way to go in this respect – and it will only have a chance to arrive if it reckons with its past, as the African American journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in his call for reparations black people should receive. But there is hope for an America which tries harder. The demonstrations have led politicians to think about and enact police reforms, although it is a slow process. The activism and the solidarity shown around the world are amazingly powerful. However, in Oakland, while there were still Black Lives Matter protestors in the streets, the 23-year old Latino Eric Salgado was shot for driving an allegedly stolen car. Most probably, the situation would have turned out differently would he have been white.

What is celebrated on July 4th is nothing but an image, because America is still far from providing justice and equality for all. But the country, and the world, is in a turmoil, and this is likely to bring about further significant changes.

In the 1960s, Joan Baez, covering Bob Dylan’s protest song “Blowin’ in the Wind”, sang:

“How many years must some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
And how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?”

In the same decade, a period which in many respects closely resembles our modern times, Sam Cooke sang “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Let’s hope he is finally right. 

CSUN Department of Chicana/o Studies Statement In Solidarity with Black Lives Matter!

in The Word is Text/Uncategorized by

There are times that voices need to rise to articulate what is already certain. 

We the faculty and staff of the Department of Chicana/o Studies at California State University, Northridge emphatically restate and reaffirm our support and uncompromising solidarity for and with our Black sisters and brothers. Our department owes much to the bold Black students who faced extreme violence and repression while leading a movement that resulted in the establishment of the Educational Opportunity Program and the founding of the Africana Studies and Chicano/a Studies Departments on our campus. For too long we have seen and personally experienced the white supremacist criminalization of Black and Brown bodies, the predatory nature of the criminal legal system, the bestial nature of policing, and the impunity of police murders. We acknowledge and value the brave stance and mobilization of Black Lives Matter! against repression, suppression, and police murder. We acknowledge that Black Lives Matter! draws specific attention to the plight of Black men and women to live, walk, and breathe free of the threat of violence and murder at the hands of police and we stand in unity with the movement. We See You! We Hear You! We Walk With You! 

`— In Solidarity,  The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Northridge.

My COVID-19 Experience

in The Word is Text by

by Hector Guardado

Hector Guardado

When I see the Los Angeles County numbers for the coronavirus, I cannot help it but think that I am part of the statistics.

On March 25th,2020, after class was over on Zoom, I started to feel tired and a bit cold that evening. When my body started aching, I took my temperature, and it was at 102 degrees at 10 p.m.

The next eleven days would be the worst, I have felt in my life. Everyday from March 25 until April 5, I was unable to get off my bed. My body ached, my temperature stayed at 102 degrees, my head hurt. I developed a serious cough and any movement I did would make me run out of breath.

My wife said, “this is the worst I have ever seen you.” I also lost the sense of taste and smell. I was ready to give up on life, it felt like it would never end. I did not know what day it was; all I did was sleep to avoid all the pain my body felt.

On April 1, after having my fever for eight days, my lips were turning pale, and my wife was worried that my oxygen level in my body was getting too low, so she took me to the emergency room at Kaiser in Panorama City. My wife even said, “I was worried that you would stop breathing overnight and die on me and I wouldn’t know what to do.” While at Kaiser, my wife was not allowed to go in with me, so she waited in the car while they checked me out. There, they took my temperature, my oxygen level, and asked me a few questions. After those questions, they made me spit into a cup, which turned out to be the coronavirus test. After a couple of hours, the doctor sent me home. I was told I was young enough to fight any symptoms at home.

After two days, on April 3, Kaiser called and told me that I have tested positive for the coronavirus and should quarantine for 14 days, along with everyone that live with me. I was also told to tell everyone that I came in contact with from the 14 days back from my first symptoms. I was told that they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Now that I feel a lot better, I realized that trying to get tested for the coronavirus was not as easy as the Mayor or Governor made it seem during the beginning of the pandemic. I had called the doctor multiple times before my testing, and all they said is that I had an infection. Lucky for me, my wife was alert and took me to the emergency room to finally get tested. I am also lucky to have family members drop off food, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper while my family and I were quarantined. To this day, I still have not receive any special medicine or any treatment for the coronavirus, but I finally found out what was truly wrong with me, and now I’m part of the statistics.

Chicano Icon Passes Away

in The Word is Text by

by Alejandra Iglesias and Alejandra Rodriguez

Image of Bobby Verdugo
Bobby Verdugo

Bobby Verdugo was a mentor for many. It began during the 1968 Chicano student walkouts in East Los Angeles. Verdugo walked out to protest discrimination and dropout rates among Mexican American students. He was born to Chicano parents in Lincoln Heights, California. On May 1, 2020, he passed away at the age of 69. Daughter, Monica Verdugo, alongside wife and family, announced the news on Facebook that her father had died. Verdugo, Rios and other Latino students organized peaceful walkouts of schools across Los Angeles. The police reacted violently to these events and they would beat these high school students who were just seeking fair treatment. Eventually, the schools ended the punishment of speaking Spanish and later introduced bilingual education classes only years later.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, Verdugo’s experienced with the following: “They subjected him and others to paddlings in front of fellow students for speaking Spanish in class, incidents that he bitterly remembered decades later.” Wife, Yoli Rios, who went to high school with Verdugo mentioned to ABC News, “He tried to make a joke about it when it happened, but I know it was painful.” These students’ experiences were highlighted in the 2006 HBO movie, “Walkout” and actor, Efren Ramirez played Verdugo.

In 1995 he co-founded Con Los Padres which helped young Latino fathers. He explained that many young fathers received backlash telling them they had ruined their lives. Verdugo recalled his teacher from high school Sal Castro, who was there for Verdugo when he was a student and pushed him to stand up against teachers who were mistreating him. He reminded the young fathers to feel good about themselves and there were people like himself that cared about them just like Castro had done for him in his high school years.

At the age of 40, he decided to attend California State University, Los Angeles to earn his degree to help in outreach and become a social worker. He noticed that there were limited resources for young-at-risk men that weren’t punitive which lead him to co-founding Con Los Padres. This innovative program counseled teenage Latino fathers. The Los Angeles Times talks about that in the following: “He connected with them by organizing circulos: talking circles that modeled on Mesoamerican traditions in which his young acolytes could drop their machismo and freely discuss their feelings while reconnecting with their roots.”

Verdugo surely made an impact from the walkouts up until his last moments on Earth and he will be greatly missed in the Chicanx community.

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