Yale University was founded in 1701. Over 250 years later, in the early 1970s, the first Latinos stepped foot on the prestigious campus. For these Latinos, Yale was a Sisyphean challenge — a sea of unfamiliar affluence never before traversed by Latinos. They soon realized the only way to survive the resulting ostracism and isolation would be to ban together. As a result of their determination to succeed, today, there are approximately 5,000 Yale Latino Alumni. The Early Years
Former Yale Associate Dean, Rosalinda Garcia, explained, “Most of the first Latinos who went to Yale had a very hard time. One, it was a racist climate, and two, these students were brought onto campus and they weren’t given any resources to succeed.”
Garcia describes the first “big” class of Latinos – it had a total of five (in a class of thousands), and it was common for them to be called derogatory names around campus.
WASHINGTON – Half a century has gone by since citizens of Alabama marched to oppose harsh state and national laws that restricted the rights of black Americans. Now it seems as though the state has found itself entrenched in the same battle, this time however, at the heart of the matter are undocumented immigrants. Chris Weitz, the director of hit movies such as “American Pie” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” teamed with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, to put together a project, “Is This Alabama?”
Vargas, a former Washington Post reporter who revealed his undocumented status in a New York Times Magazine story last year, made the videos with Weitz. Vargas was sent to live in the U.S. as a child. He left journalism to become an advocate for immigration reform through Define American, which cosponsored the event Wednesday, March 14, with the Center for American Progress and America’s Voice.
I have a “gringo” friend here in Rio Rico, Arizona, a town where we both settled to live, which is virtually atop of the United States of America’s border with México. She recently emailed me, “It’s more fun having Latinos as neighbors than, well, almost anybody.”
“So true,” I emailed her back. “Especially so here, where you and I live as minorities. It is so pleasant to read that, you, like me, get such pleasure out of being immersed in a mostly Mexican culture.”
I’m always reminded of that pleasure when I shop the Nogales, Arizona, Walmart which is filled with warmth, smiles, and laughter, as contrasted with shopping the Walmart at the mostly gated and overwhelmingly “gringo” retirement community, Green Valley, Arizona, which is an easy 20-minute drive north via Interstate 19. But what a grim and cold place that cavernous place is to me. Smiles and laughter seem to be forbidden. That’s why I prefer to head, south, on another easy 20-minute drive on Interstate-19 to shop the Nogales’ Walmart. That’s where I rarely leave without learning a new Spanish word, which comes in handy here in my Rio Rico, where 85 percent of my neighbors – most of them far more bilingual than I am – claim Spanish as their native tongue.
EL CENTRO, Calif.– Después de la huelga estudiantil de Mayo 4 del 2010, que forzó el sistema universitario de Puerto Rico a cerrar por tres meses, muchos estudiantes dejamos nuestras casas y familias para continuar nuestros sueños de hacernos profesionales algún día. Siendo una de esos estudiantes que emigramos de Puerto Rico buscando un mejor futuro en los Estados Unidos, me mudé para California para poder continuar mis estudios y no me arrepiento de mi decisión. Me mudé para Imperial Valley porque mis hermanos han estado viviendo aquí desde hace tres años y porque mi hermano mayor vivía en Mexicali, Mex. con su esposa mexicana mientras el terminaba su internado en medicina y ella terminaba su bachillerato en artes plásticas. En su momento decidieron que lo más cercano a nuestro hermano mayor, mejor.
EL PASO, Texas — El Movimiento, also known as the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, was the empowerment of Mexican Americans in the 60s and 70s. Almost a half century later, Chicanos, Latinos and Hispanics continue to fight a struggle, but at times it does not have the same clout as it once did. “There were several arenas that took on a voice back in the late 60’s and early 70’s,” said Benjamín Sáenz, department chair for Creative Writing. “There was a literary movement that involved many writers, mostly poets…and then there was a purely political movement.”
Sáenz, a writer and professor at UTEP, said he was very much involved in the fight and highly political during those times. “We move forward all these years—after the civil rights movement and we talk about the Chicano Movement, but there is no movement per se.