Understanding the Chicano student movement at Cerritos College

Rebecca Aguila, Staff Writer

The Chicano and Chicano studies department seeks to increase the understanding and valuing the historic and cultural significance of Mexican-American and Latina(o) communities here at Cerritos College on Oct. 16.

As Latinas and Latinos entered the Learning Resource Center to listen in on professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos’s presentation on the Chicano studies movement, Los Alcaranes song “Pocho” was playing in the background to set the atmosphere for what was to become a lecture to spark the interest in ethnic studies and for students to be activists.

To raise awareness on how Chicano Studies was created, Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos, president and CEO of the California-Mexico Studies center from CSULB, gave the students more information on how the 1968 East L.A High School walk-out in Lincoln Heights, sparked a higher demand in Ethnic studies among the state of California and nationwide for Chicanos and Chicanas.

This lecture was planned by counselor and coordinator Rosa Carrillo, in which she states, “this event is actually part of the Latinx Awareness month and this is just one of the many events that we’re hosting.”

Carrillo also states, “That this special lecture event is a way to gain national recognition”

This campus has a high enrollment population of Mexican-Americans and Latina(o)’s here, so it’s important to be interested in fields that involves the culture due to it not being offered at many schools according to Vazquez-Ramos.

Vazquez-Ramos encourages students to have an, “understanding in the history and culture as Latina(o)’s and to channel every opportunity we have.”

The whole entire Chicano studies program was created by students, which began in California and was born by El Plan de Santa Barbara which took place in the year of 1969.

This has brought many students, leaders and activists together at Santa Barbara to create a nationwide student organization.

Of course it all seemed as a radical movement, but it was demanded by Latinos, blacks and Mexican-American to establish a way to learn about their culture and use their inherited knowledge to pass it on in the future as a politicians, teachers and professors all around the country, according to Vazquez-Ramos.

Vazquez-Ramos also emphasized the Platform that Sal Castro and Dr. Joe White created for the students who were part of the movement in the late 60’s.

Sal Castro was known for his vocal leadership skills and pioneered the East L.A walkouts with student leaders.

Dr. Joe White opened the doors of higher education through the EOP programs.

Vazquez-Ramos states, “They both planted seeds for Ethnic Studies Department in U.S colleges and universities.”

He also wishes that as dedicated students, it is the our duty to carry on the same footprint that both Sal Castro and Dr.Joe White, left.

The Latina(o) and Mexican-American population is diversifying almost everyday and growing with numbers which will potentially,in the future,be the majority population here in the United States and in California ,in accordance to the Cerritos College website for the Chicano and Chicana studies program.

Obtaining the associates degree for Mexican American/Chicana(o) and Latina(o) studies in Arts degree requires the student to take classes in different fields varying from Spanish, English and Anthropology.