Parents Challenge Language Barriers in Parents’ Weekend

Expressing support for their children, Latino, monolingual parents eagerly attended UCLA’s 2014 Parents’ Weekend. While filling lecture halls and beaming with pride over their college students, Spanish-speaking parents proved the language barrier was not a hurdle.

UCLA’s 15th annual Parents’ Weekend, held from October 31st through November 2nd, is a family event that draws in thousands of families from around the world. Unfortunately, this three-day event offers lectures and workshops exclusively in English.

Despite the language barriers of Parents’ Weekend, Latino, monolingual parents make a point to attend the annual event.

Among such parents are Hector Hernandez and Jovita Hernandez, both of whom originate from Michoacán, Mexico. Despite a limited understanding of English, they make an effort to attend the event.

For the Hernandez family, Parents’ Weekend allows them to rally behind their daughters Alia Hernandez, a second year human biology and society major, and Elena Hernandez, a UCLA alumna with a degree in history.

Because their daughters are first generation college students, they feel the need to go above and beyond to express support for their children.

“Es importante alimentar al bebe, hasta en los 24 años,” said Hernandez.

Originally from El Salvador, Pedro Alarcon Quijada and Rosa Alarcon Granadeño also make sure to participate in Parents’ Weekend to support their son, also a first generation college student. They note that parents’ support is crucial for graduation and retention rates.

“El tiempo de calidad con nuestro hijo es muy importante. El se tiene que sentir soportado por nosotros para que no sienta que no se va a graduar,” said Pedro Alarcon Quijada.

After attending lectures and expressing gratefulness for UCLA, both families expressed desire for Spanish presentations, “o por lo menos aparatos de traducción,” said Quijada.

Despite a limited understanding of English, both families enjoyed the kind environment created by UCLA, where parents from numerous backgrounds stand united in support of their students.

“Es una gran experiencia poder conocer a profesores tan educados. Estoy muy agradecido por lo que UCLA ha hecho por mis hijas,” said Hector Hernandez.

Boyle Heights Dia de los Muertos Festivities

On November 2, 2014, the community of Boyle Heights honored those who have passed in spaces like Espacio 1839, Mariachi Plaza and Self Help Graphics.

At the store and autonomous radio station, Espacio 1839, various altars decorated its sidewalk, giving life to the street as the dead were commemorated.   One of the altars was set up by students of Roosevelt High School and their teacher, Jorge Lopez.  The students decided to honor various revolutionaries who have died fighting for justice.

Inside the store there were performances by various artists, such as Son de Centro and El-Haru Kuroi, to name a few.  In addition, there was a space dedicated for an altar that displayed the faces of the 43 students who were disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico.  On the wall right from the altar, a row of posters with Black and Brown faces whose lives were taken by police brutality, were lined up across the room.

At Mariachi Plaza, there were vendors and cumbia that made a large crowd dance.  And just down that same street, Self Help Graphics was hosting their 41st annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at their neighboring Mendez High School.  The area was filled with more vendors, altars, photo booths, food, and a stage for performances by artists such as Las Cafeteras.

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Dia de los Muertos at Grand Park, Los Angeles

On November 1, 2014 Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles hosted a free Dia de los Muertos celebration, with live music, art and food!  An entire space was dedicated for the display of various community altars, with participating organizations such as Inner-City Struggle.  Some performances included Los Angeles-based band, La Chamba and from Colombia, Palenke Soultribe.  This event was extremely family-friendly and it gave people a space to gather and celebrate those who have passed.

Created with flickr slideshow.