Hustling

by Claudia Lara

Hustling, every day on every level

sometimes it feels the only way out is to make a deal with the devil.

Get your own and leave your people behind,

Turn your head and pretend that you’re blind.

But apathy is a characteristic unknown to me

It’s not a part of the person I strive to be.

So I hustle every day to get ahead

To be student, organizer, worker

And still… provide my family with some bread

I hustle every day to get ahead

Trying to ignore the opposition

And the words that they said

They spit ignorance, and like that… hatred is spread

But I hustle to keep my head high

And tell myself, SI SE PUEDE! instead

Pues…

They colonize, oppress and setup their slave trade

and now they tell us that we’ve OVERSTAYED?

Passing their racist laws to make my people afraid

Asking them to abandon the lives that they’ve made

Like aliens we are being portrayed

and by the place we call our country

…easily betrayed.

Yeah, let me tell you it gets hard sometimes

I don’t qualify for this thing…financial aid

the main reason why my dream has been delayed

But I didn’t know this in the first grade

when they tracked me as “gifted” and said

YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE.

Y yo, tan ignorante les crei.

And well, now what?

I’ve diligently obeyed

Honors, APs, straight A’s

I’ll be graduating soon with a B.A. in psychology

No job, tough life, no apology

But here’s a little secret you may not know

IT IS WITHIN OUR POWER TO CHANGE THE STATUS QUO

What must I say for you to react?

To get up and make an impact…

It’s been 10 years of struggle

how ‘bout, we pass the DREAM Act? NOW!

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Festival Latino 2010

On April 3 the Latin American Student Association (LASA) held its twelfth annual Festival Latino, which took place on campus at UCLA’s Wilson Plaza. The strong winds did not stop LASA nor student volunteers from putting the festival together early that morning, and it certainly did not stop spectators from attending.

This year’s Festival Latino had positive changes, according to several members of the LASA committee. “Our goal was to establish unity among Latino organizations at UCLA,” said Elba Solis, director of Festival Latino.

Solis explained that in the past, Latino organizations have never truly been united nor have they truly supported one another. LASA board members collectively decided to use the festival as a method of establishing unity with other Latino student organizations by inviting them to participate. Unity within the student Latino community is important to the LASA committee because it provides a safe space for Latino students to become conscious of issues that pertain Latina/o communities. This is why it took committee members all of last summer, fall, and winter to plan and organize the event.

The committee attended meetings with Latino organizations to invite them to assist with the festival while establishing a union with them. The participating organizations included Improving Dreams Equality Access and Success, Latinas Guiding Latinas, MEChA Calmecac, Hermanas Unidas, and La Familia. Most of these organizations collaborated with the LASA committee by promoting the event or by volunteering that day. Additionally, the LASA committee formed alliances with the Latino Greek council, which consists of Lambda Theta Nu, Phi Lambda Rho, Lambda Theta Alpha, Gamma Zeta Alpha, and Nu Alpha Kappa (NAK) who supported the festival with funding and volunteers.

“It was a really good experience and I would definitely participate again,” explained Alfredo Calderón, a NAK member. Calderón participated during the event by assisting children to color in the outlines of works by Diego Rivera at a children’s station. The point of this station, he explains, was for children to learn about Art and Diego Rivera while having fun.

The day of the festival the students volunteering guided performers, assisted decorating the plaza with Latin American flags and a fake wall known as the “walk through,” which displayed adornments representing countries in Latin America. The festival included performances by Mariachi UCLAtlán, Pilar Díaz, and Banda Flor de Piña among others. Most spectators mingled while dancing to the beats and rhythms of the music. The delicious food was the most popular attraction with food stations representing countries like El Salvador, Columbia, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, and the U.S.

Festival Latino provided an opportunity for Latino student organizations to unite in solidarity. It was not just a regular day on campus; it was a day to celebrate the Latino culture and most importantly a day for these students to work together.

Carlos Slim

Forbes First Mexican

Carlos Slim is the first Mexican to top the Forbes list of billionaires, one of the few from outside the United States or Europe. He controls the majority of Mexico’s telecommunication and his telecom business Telmex is described as one of the highest in cost.

The 70-year-old son of a Lebanese immigrant attests to being incredibly frugal by living in the same modest home that he has resided for over three decades in Mexico. He uses Mexico City public transportation and can be seen eating at his restaurant chain, Sanborn’s.

Slim, the “humble man,” should not only be aware of his social responsibility but be held accountable for it. I can’t help but feel unnerved when the wealthiest man in the world come from a developing country. His increase in wealth over the years brings to the public eye the stark contrast between him and the rest of Mexico. The existing disparity between the rich and poor, the unstable economy, the red tape, and the corruption in Mexico all bring to mind one question: how will he redistribute his wealth?

The bulk of his wealth has been obtained through his companies, which include the mobile phone company America Movil and the infrastructure development company Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo. Slim’s companies have caused economic strife in Mexico. His control of Mexico’s telecommunications, restaurants, construction and industrial companies make it impossible for Mexican consumers to not contribute to his amassing wealth. Telmex alone has successfully prevented competing communications companies from entering the Mexican market, keeping Mexico from economic development.

Should Slim’s rise to the top affect Mexico’s economic future? He technically doesn’t owe anything to Mexico. But because a large portion of his fortune has been garnered through his national phone company monopoly, which affects almost all Mexicans, he should give back. Pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into education, health, and aid programs may answer many of Mexico’s needs.

Although Slim’s fortune allows him to make donations to good causes, it is his business practices that need to change. His monopolistic systems are harmful to the economy. A competing market would better facilitate the growth of the Mexican economy, but because he is the biggest employer and the biggest taxpayer in Mexico it is wishful thinking to want to challenge him.

Interestingly, Slim’s massive success comes during Mexico’s historic bicentennial. Perhaps his success serves as an indication of a better economic future for Mexico. A part of me wants to believe that he will stop reaping the benefits of a market that he has successfully dominated over the past 20 years.

Homeboy Industries

Money Woes for Homeboys

A previously LA Gente-featured organization, Homeboy Industries, has also been reeling to stay afloat amidst extreme financial hardships.

On May 14, Father Gregory Boyle, the founder of the organization, lamentably announced the laying off of 300 employees, including all senior staff and administrators.

Since its inception, Homeboy Industries has enjoyed great success, as well as high praise, in its work rehabilitating gang members and training them for jobs; however, the money needed to sustain its burden has proven elusive.

The organization attributes the hardship to the flailing economy, as private donations are extremely low and as there are fewer jobs for graduates of Homeboy’s programs.

Father Boyle also explains that they receive little money from public funds, as the local government has focused on intervention programs that reduce violence amongst current gang members.

In response to being asked if he was optimistic for the future, Boyle is quoted as responding, “Hope comes from the soul; optimism comes from observable evidence. And this place is soaked with hope.”

Kellogs Serves a Bowl of Racial Justice

Kelloggs Serves a Bowl of Racial Justice

In May, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 by the breakfast cereal trailblazer, announced that it is dedicating $75 million to organizations nation-wide devoted to righting the effects of racial inequalities on poor children.

“Our goal is to breathe life back into the effort to abolish structural racism, and to help America achieve strength and prosperity through racial equity,” says Sterling K. Speirn, the president and CEO of the foundation.

This philanthropic program, named the America Healing initiative, will distribute $14.6 million to 119 organizations within the program’s first of five years.

A group highlighted on the foundation’s website was Lifelink and their Beyond Cultural “Competency” project, which aims to develop “culturally appropriate approaches” to the mental and behavioral health needs of the Native American youth in areas of New Mexico.

Mexico’s Gays Make Way

Five same-sex couples were recently married in Mexico City, reports Mexico’s La Opinión. The local state assembly had approved the marriages in December. The government also gave same-sex couples the right to adopt children legally.

While many activists consider this a major win for gay rights in Latin America, some standing in protest deemed the ceremonies as “horrible” and even “unconstitutional.”

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How Far Would You Walk for Your Dreams? Undocumented Students Coming Out of the Shadows

On Jan. 1, 2010, four students began a 1,500 mile walk from Miami, Fla. to Washington D.C., dubbed the “Trail of Dreams.” Alluding to the tragedy of the “Trail of Tears,” in which Native Americans were forced to relocate across the country under the most dehumanizing of conditions, this march was dedicated to a more hopeful future.

Through the Trail of Dreams, Juan Rodriguez, 20, Gaby Pacheco, 25, Felipe Matos, 24, and Carlos Roa, 22, hope to bring awareness of issues concerning undocumented students to our nation’s capital.

Nancy Meza, a fourth-year undocumented student and external representative of Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success at UCLA, says, “they decided that we needed to take this nationally and…go with our stories, state by state, from Florida to Washington D.C., go through places where people aren’t really comfortable with saying that they are undocumented, places like Georgia and the Midwest.” By showing the faces of real immigrants in this country, the “dream walkers” hope that congress will pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

The DREAM Act would provide immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. as young children and have pursued higher education or military service, among other requirements, a path to citizenship.

For over 10 years students have been lobbying to get legislators to pass the DREAM Act. The fact that it’s been struck down repeatedly causes desperation and a loss of hope in the undocumented student community. The Trail of Dreams is a direct result of that frustration and feelings that the government isn’t doing enough. “We need to escalate our organizing tactics, people need to understand that we need some sort of reform either through the DREAM Act or immigration reform,” said Meza.

The dream walkers, walked 15 to18 miles a day, six days a week, sleeping in churches or anywhere that would provide shelter, carrying only the most basic supplies. At one point they encountered opposition from groups like the Ku Klux Klan who were protesting what they call “the Latino invasion.” However, they were also welcomed with support from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Trail of Dreams ended in Washington D.C.’s Lafayette Park on May 1, International Workers Day, a day in commemoration of the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, but now known in the U.S. as a day to rally for immigrant rights.

On their website, www.trail2010.org, the dream walkers stated: “We left our shoes [in Washington, DC], the same shoes we wore the day we started walking on Jan. 1, as a symbol of thousands in our communities that disappear due to our broken immigration system. This is our official statement. May 1 is the end [of our march] but the beginning of a new chapter that all of us will write together!”