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Asunto:[MESHIKO] A Chicano activist celebrates an anniversary...
Fecha:Lunes, 10 de Marzo, 2008  16:33:39 (-0600)
Autor:Proyecto Interredes <lacasadelared>

From: dorinda moreno <fuerzamundial@...>
Date: 09-mar-2008 17:51
Subject: [NetworkAztlan_Action] Re: A Chicano activist celebrates an
anniversary... (d)
To: Movimiento <movimiento_con-safos-y-que@...>,
NetworkAztlan_Action@..., Tommie Camarillo

On 3/9/08, Johnny Silvas <info@...> wrote:
> A Chicano activist celebrates an anniversary
> By EDWARD BARRIOS ACEVEDO, Hispanic Link, Fri, 02/29/2008
> He could have been one heck of an auto mechanic. But the prevailing forces of the civil-rights movement, a raging war overseas and a leap of faith in education rewrote the destiny of Armando Vazquez-Ramos.
> Beginning in March and extending throughout the year, countless events will celebrate the 40th anniversary of what Vazquez-Ramos and many others of his generation hail as the birth of the Chicano Movement. They connect it with the March 1968 walkouts involving hundreds of East Los Angeles high-school students.
> Led by a passionate young teacher named Sal Castro, Mexican-American kids defied their instructors and, in many instances, their parents to protest institutional racism and inequitable education conditions on their campuses. Their actions lighted a fire that engulfed young brown teens throughout the whole Southwest.
> This year, Vazquez-Ramos celebrates a parallel 40-year stretch at California State University-Long Beach that began as a student leader and continues as an activist professor. He doesn't appear ready to slow down anytime soon.
> "Much has happened since then," he says. "But we still see a similarity to the conditions we faced 40 years ago -- unpopular war abroad, attacks on civil liberties and a continuous dehumanization of immigrants and Latinos."
> There has been tremendous progress, he admits, but challenges are everywhere, including high dropout rates, poorly prepared college entrants, unacceptable retention statistics and unequal representation at almost every level of business and government.
> Today, the Chicano Studies professor says, he is offering tune-ups not of automobiles, but of the lives of underserved young people in this beachside town 20 miles south of Los Angeles.
> At an early-morning breakfast, I caught up with the professor to press him on the environment he finds himself in 2008. "My mission is the same today as it was 40 years ago -- to improve the educational level of my community," he says. He's juggling a dozen projects, including writing a detailed account on the history of Mexican-Americans in Long Beach.
> Over the years, Vazquez-Ramos has assisted thousands of students. Many return to him as elected officials, educators and business leaders, some seeking his counsel on issues, others just to absorb an old-fashioned pep talk from a trusted adviser.
> "Seeing students succeed as professionals and do things of value in their own communities is the greatest glory of teaching," he says.
> Against a backdrop of poverty and a lack of role models, Vazquez-Ramos came to the United States from Mexico City when he was 12 years old. Life as a skilled laborer was a hopeful goal.
> Then, when he graduated from Lincoln High School, where the walkouts were incubated the following year, he was accepted at California State University-Long Beach as part of the first Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) class in 1967-1968.
> Today, the EOP program continues to identify promising students who need enrollment and education assistance.
> "It really changed my life," he says. "It has inspired me to do the same for others just like me."
> He argues that there is a direct correlation between the success of students and curricula that reflect the cultural and ethnic content the Latino students demanded during those walkouts four decades ago.
> "It's a constant struggle to eliminate ignorance and hate through education," he says. "We all benefit from the investment. We owe our kids the same effort and opportunities that gave us our chance."
> * Edward Barrios Acevedo is a teacher and free-lance writer in Los Angeles. He can be reached at Edwardfactor@...
> ** Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,
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