Examining the Past Year of Protest
by Sonia Gurrola
by Sonia Gurrola
by Felipe Perez
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.
by Stephanie Barbosa
On June 22nd, 2021, I attended and stood in solidarity with the LA Students Deserve rally at LAUSD district headquarters. Members of the Indigenous Education Now (IEN) coalition were able to share public comments at the LAUSD board meeting throughout the day. The IEN Mobilization Team was able to speak on the importance of allocating funding for American Indian and Indigenous students. LAUSD has a highest population of urban American Indian and Indigenous Students than any other district in the state. In the evening, the LAUSD Board unanimously voted to dedicate $10 million to support Indigenous Student Achievement and will bring necessary relief for Native and Indigenous students that have experienced various hardships due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The $10 million funding will be allocated to Native and Indigenous organizations and tribes who can help address student’s needs, COVID-19 recovery efforts, and ensure their unique linguistic, cultural, and historic backgrounds.
The Indigenous Education Now Coalition (IEN) is composed of students, parents, community members, local land-based Tribes, and Native American organizations. Prior to the LAUSD board meeting, IEN Coalition members were able to organize community members to leave over 100 voicemail messages to the district hotline, have dozens of community members submit public comment, and collected over 1,000 signatures in support of the Indigenous Student Achievement seed funding. This funding will also go towards much needed data and information of Indigenous Students from Mexico and Central America. Currently, Indigenous students from Mexico and Central America are not being accounted for in LAUSD due to not having tribal affiliations to a federally recognized tribe within the United States. With this funding, the Indigenous Education Now Coalition will be able to continue their data collection on Indigenous students from non-federally recognized tribes as well as help implement a language survey that will help document Indigenous languages that are spoken by LAUSD students. The allocation of this money is a huge win for young Chicano/a/x LAUSD students who identify with their Indigenous roots and lineages.
( L to R; Front Row: Cheyenne Phoenix, Isel Cuipao, Stephanie Barboza (me), Shannon Rivers, Isaac Micheal Ybarra. Top Row: IEN Coalition Member, Mark Villasenor, Vice President of Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, Maria Viamil, IEN Coalition Member, Rudy Ortega, President of Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.)
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.
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?
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