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Points of View

October 6, 2021

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson proclaimed the week starting September 15 Hispanic Heritage Week, he proclaimed it because of the growing recognition of the importance of Chicanos, Latinos, Latin American immigrants and others of “Spanish descent” in this country.  The word “Hispanic” is an amalgam of a word and the source of some controversy among Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x communities.  But while the term “Hispanic” is arguable, the absolute need to recognize, commemorate, and celebrate the role that these Brown communities have had on the United States is definitive.  Hispanic Heritage Week became the month from September 15-October 15, and it is joyfully recognized at colleges and universities, in film and broadcast news, in entertainment, in politics, and in the sciences.

It is tempting to call the roll of notable Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x leaders such as:  Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Juan and Joaquin Castro, Gloria Anzaldua, Maria Hinojosa, Ray Suarez, and so many others, including our own graduate Lucille Roybal-Allard, who has represented the 33d, or 34th Congressional district of California since 1993.  In calling the roll, though, we must also recognize the hundreds of thousands whose names we don’t know, the folks that powered the movement and those who have kept it going.  My challenge to you is to learn and call some of their names.

We have focused and powerful faculty in our Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies Department who are challenging traditional scholarship in deep ways, including by exploring the oral tradition that is too often ignored.  Please check out the Department’s website to learn more about the intellectual, political, and activist endeavors of our faculty and students.

Here’s my bottom line.  Hispanic History and Heritage month is impactful.  We must lift up those who have contributed to our nation’s foundation.  Hispanic Heritage Month was September 15 through October 15, and we must celebrate that history and heritage not only in this time period, but throughout the year.

We must be reflective and celebratory about the Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x contributions to our nation.  Not just in this month, but all the time.

A luta continua,

Julianne Malveaux

Statements

on George Floyd

Statement on George Floyd

Horror and rage. These are the words that best describe what I felt as I watched Mr. George Floyd being held on the ground in handcuffs by three, white, Minneapolis police officers, while one of them forced his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck until he succumbed.

Today, I grieve for Mr. Floyd, his family, and the countless other Black families who have suffered because of the brutal and inhumane treatment often sanctioned by American legal institutions during the past 400 years. I too feel the despair felt by so many Angelenos, many of whom are again expressing their rage and sorrow at the insidiousness of racial injustice in America.

But like my colleagues in the College of Ethnic Studies, we refuse to give in to despair. Our histories have proven that we are resilient people, and we will stand together as we re-double our efforts to help educate and prepare new generations of students to dismantle systemic anti-Blackness and other systems of oppression in our society.

Over 50 years ago, high school students and community activists served as a catalyst for Cal State LA faculty, students, and staff to insist on the creation of ethnic studies programs and more support services for Black, Chicano/a, and Asian American students. Those initial and subsequent struggles did not go in vain, but instead led to the establishment of this new College of Ethnic Studies.

Today, our faculty, students, and staff stand ready to help create a new and just future for all the communities that make up the City of Los Angeles and beyond. We invite you to join us.

Octavio Villalpando
Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion