Jesus and I were recently invited by Univeristy of the Pacific Mechista, Veronica Chavez, to speak to her class called Nuestros Raices. She started her class with the founder of ECHO, her tia Emma Chavez to ensure that the young Raza students who received scholarships to attend private schools still had the opportunity to learn culturally relevant history. What we saw her doing was supplementing their education with Raza Studies. It was very inspiring to see how this family values the young people in their community. Veronica conducts these classes in her spare time. The day we arrived Veronica was sharing a video on SB1070 and leading a discussion on the impacts that the, at the time unsigned, legislation could have on their lives.
We really enjoyed the morning we spent with the students. We shared stories about our families and talked about our lives as artists. ECHO’s mission is to promote and provide Latino students and their families with the necessary tools to achieve academic success in all areas of their educational careers, teach and inform them about their rights and responsibilities in public education, and help them develop leadership skills to become effective leaders of their communities.
We must have sparked something for the young people because they created sidewalk art in the parking lot of Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation after we had lunch with them and then went home.