Cinco De Mayo (May 5th) is a day celebrated regionally in Mexico and throughout the U.S. Within recent history the day has become grossly distorted by the American corporation/public into one of drunkenness & debauchery, ultimately appropriating Mexican culture and making a mockery out of a people. The words “STOP THE INVASION, KILL A MEXICAN!” were found written on the wall of a men’s restroom near Cowell College, one of the many racist/ignorant expressions.
In response students called for a LATIN@ STATE OF EMERGENCY that would convene outside of Kerr Hall at 12noon in order to demonstrate our frustrations with the University, the hostile environment, and the culturally incompetent employees as Latin@ students and students of color. At 12noon students, faculty, and staff gathered on the patio of Kerr to express their grievances with the university. One student in particular expressed:
“I’m Mexican, I’m undocumented, Kill me…The first time I arrived on this campus an administrator walked up to me and said ‘I’m glad the University is Diversifying’. This is a problem because they think of diversity when they see my body, not my intellectual diversity.”
Following this more and more voices began to speak up. Among the sentiments was a sense of urgency, particularly regarding the development of a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies department because it is apparent that “students are not taught how to think critically of social surroundings” one student said. The struggle for Ethnic Studies at UCSC has been going on for 4 decades and no sufficient responses from the University have been made.
In addition to the desire to see a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies department, there was also talk about the expansion of the Ethnic Resource Center’s beyond their current location (half a floor). With that expansion students demand the inclusion of a Middle Eastern Resource Center and the integration of an Intergenerational Immigrant Resource Center. Proposal For The Intergenerational Immigrant Resource Center (<–CLICK) That is a physical space that would provide resources (academic, personal, financial, political, etc) for Immigrant/AB540/Undocumented students.
In response to our mobilization Executive Vice Chancellor Galloway publicly promised a meeting with the Chancellor & the Commissioner of Diversity. Including working towards a large town hall about Diversity and Racism.
Those in attendance began marching up Science Hill through the campus rallying outside of Cowell College, where the vandalism was found. The provost of Cowell College spoke to the frustrated students. She emphasized how she hoped the vandalism wasn’t done by a Cowell sudent, and she reiterated how if it were done by a Cowell student that she would personally feel very attacked and ashamed. Even though it shouldn’t matter the college affiliation of the student. The fact that such hurtful vandalism was written in the restroom is unacceptable, and administrators should take a more proactive stance and genuinely listen to the concerns of the students.
After hearing the provost speak, students continued marching into Cowell Dining Hall where they held a rally educating students as they passively ate their food. However, before they entered the dining hall, the manager tried locking down the facility as he forcefully prevented students from entering. A student was able to crawl through the manager’s legs and open the door for everyone else to come inside the dining area. Various students spoke about their dissatisfactions and chanted. Eventually, the students eating finally stood up in solidarity. It was an empowering moment to see different faces rise together against this incident. The rally eventually ended around 2:00 pm with students standing together in a circle clapping in unison. Isang Bagsak!