By Kyle R. Cotton
As an artist in San Antonio for 30 years, Adan Hernandez is running for the Alamo Colleges District 1 position in hopes of providing more opportunities to the West Side, or as he calls it, “the barrio.”
“I’m new to this. I’ve only heard small tidbits but enough to know people like me need to be on the board because I care about the community, I genuinely care,” Hernandez said. “I’m not looking out for my self-interest or my petty career. I’m genuinely interested in the students’ well being and their careers and future. That’s why I’m running.”
“That is a big difference from some members there right now who have all this power, including the chancellor,” Hernandez said.
He believes he is qualified to serve on the Alamo Colleges’ board of trustees because he has worked extensively to help troubled West Side youth.
“I’ve been caring about my community, and my record shows as an artist I’ve been giving slideshows and lectures at all the high schools and middle schools in the barrio for years, since 1993, on my own dime,” he said. “I do not charge to go and lecture to some of the hardest high schools who have these little gang member wannabes … They turn to putty in my hands after I’m through with them.”
“I’m a different kind of candidate because I give a damn,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez does not support the board’s recent consideration of policies that discourage interaction among the board, students and faculty, including a policy that would prevent faculty and students from speaking at citizens-to-be-heard without “exhausting all administrative options.”
“It’s just dumb,” Hernandez said. “The students need to be heard. How else do you know what their needs are if you don’t hear it from the horses’ mouth?”
Hernandez also stressed the importance of a liberal arts education. “I’ve been an artist for 35 years and I’ve gone to all the high schools in the barrio and there is no art education at all,” Hernandez said. “That is so stupid, because these kids, a lot of them in the barrio, have to deal … with the poverty stricken areas, the broken homes, the broken families.”
“Art is such a great therapeutic outlet, and then they cut that,” Hernandez said. “It’s obviously done by people who don’t care about the well being of these children.”
“You go on down the line, elementary, middle school, high school, they obviously don’t care about them having some kind of release of their pent-up frustration,” he said. “Art is a great therapy, it’s better than psychiatry — I think psychiatrists are (more) dangerous than anything for people.”
“I would really push to have liberal arts, really, really, emphasized, especially in the barrio,” Hernandez said. “Nobody else needs it more than the barrio and they’re the ones who get them cut.”