Club builds bridges

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Students expand understanding of local cultures through community activism.

By Austin P. Taylor

A new student club in the Mexican-American studies program has formed this semester to discuss minority issues in America and participate in cultural events.

“Somos Chicanx” meets at 3 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 100 of Chance Academic Center.

The club discussed the Trump administration’s actions against groups within the Mexican-American community at its third meeting Feb. 14.

The club was created by Dr. Lisa Ramos, coordinator of Mexican-American studies, and Mariano Aguilar, English and Mexican-American studies professor. Its mission is to gather students from a variety of backgrounds and diminish the barriers that keep them from integrating with each other, Aguilar said.

That mission has embodied itself in the club’s commitment to community outreach.

During the meeting, club members discussed possible involvement in the “Girls to the Front” event at Northwest Vista College. Scheduled for Feb. 17, the event was to highlight art created by young women in the Mexican-American community.

The club hoped to set up a booth to sell food and donate the proceeds to foundations such as the American Civil Liberties Union.

With the emphasis President Donald J. Trump has placed on the deportation of illegal immigrants, many group members said they feel their friends and family are currently in this administration’s crosshairs.

The club discussed how it could raise funds for donation to organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union.

The club is also attempting to expand into the local community.

“We hope to encourage community activism,” said club president Kristian Reyes. “We want to inspire youth involvement. It’s about bettering the community.”

Reyes believes that at its core, the club is about political activism through community outreach.

The word “Chicanx” itself has significant social meaning. The club chose this name rather than the gender-specific “Chicanos” or “Chicanas.”

“The “x” represents how, in this day and age, our gender doesn’t really define us,” Reyes said. “We wanted to make sure that we had a very gender-neutral name.”

“Somos” is Spanish for “We are.”

Reyes said community outreach was a relatively recent development for him.

“A few months ago I had just learned about my biological grandfather, Mario Compean,” he said.

Compean was a civil rights activist with La Unida De Raza, an organization that stood for the rights of people living under what they described as a “corrupt” government.

This recent revelation pushed Reyes toward Somos Chicanx and the responsibilities that come with it.

“We feel that this club is very relevant with today’s administration,” Reyes said.

The club hopes to lay the groundwork for what they’re planning at the Cesar E. Chavez march on March 25. They also started throwing around ideas for a club T-shirt.

For more information, call Aguilar at 210-486-0651, email or visit the club’s Orgsync page:


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