New Mexican American studies opens its doors to students, community Oct. 4.
By Michelle Delgado
In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, the new Mexican American studies program will host an open house 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 100 of Chance Academic Center.
“We’re just getting the Mexican American studies program off the ground,” Mariano Aguilar Jr., English and MAS professor, said.
This college received independent approval for a MAS program in May; Palo Alto, Northwest Vista and St. Philip’s colleges already have the program established.
“This open house is going to be much more celebratory than academic,” Aguilar said, “Let’s celebrate the fact that we’re getting started here.”
The event is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served, and visitors can enjoy eating and dancing, Aguilar said.
Because the program is so new, they are seeking students interested in starting up the MAS student organization.
“Any student who is remotely interested in taking MAS courses or possibly being in the MAS student organization is welcome to come,” Aguilar said.
The open house will include a stage reading from the play “Adelita,” which Aguilar wrote; the play will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3-5 and 10-12 at the Josephine Theatre.
A band called El Tallercito de Son will also be performing at the open house.
Son is a type of indigenous Mexican music that is the precursor to mariachi.
“When Tallercito performs, they actually educate people about the importance of their music and the meaning of the lyrics,” Aguilar said, “The dancers actually provide the drum beat that drives the music.”
The event is one of the 15 Hispanic Heritage Month activities that MAS is helping to produce. “The purpose of these events is to make people aware of how important Mexican American heritage in history is,” Aguilar said.
The program on Sept. 28 hosted a panel discussion titled “Who’s Telling ‘our’ Story,” which focused on the controversy surrounding the Mexican American heritage textbook that has been approved for K-12.
“The problem with that textbook is that it contains a lot of factual and historical errors,” Aguilar said. “We are one in many groups of the state that are trying to bring that to a halt so it is not being used in the education system.”
The discussion was held to inform the community about what the situation is and what they can do to help correct the matter.
“We need people taking MAS courses ands majoring in MAS so that they know that textbooks like this are erroneous and can’t be used to teach our story,” Aguilar said.
Non-MAS majors are also encouraged to take the courses.
“The information that you gain from these classes are going to be so valuable to the job you’re trying to do when you get your degree,” Aguilar said.
This semester the program is offering Mexican American literature and Mexican American history and by the spring semester, MAS will expand their course offerings, Aguilar said.
“We’re trying to correct the history,” Aguilar said. “We’re here to educate and empower people through their understanding in Mexican American history, literature, culture and art.”
For more information, call Aguilar at 210-486-0651, or visit the Mexican American Studies Center in Room 100 of Chance Academic Center.