Monday, May 19, 2008


After finding a cartoon that yours truly drew for California State University Long Beach's Daily 49er, BBC Mundo reporter Jose Baig contacted me to give my humble two cents on a current legisltation that would ban Chicano/Latino, Asian American and African American Studies from Arizona schools. According to the bill, these classes promote anti-American values. What are some of those values? According to an article found at East Valley Tribune's Web site, some of those values include democracy, capitalism and pluralism. This law is specifically going after groups that are race-based. Groups such as MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan or Chicano Student Movement from Aztlan), Black Student Associations and any other group that supports anti-American values. Now, I've taken some of the Chicano courses at CSULB, and never have I been thought to hate this country. Nonetheless, I been informed of some of the things this country has done to various minorities (Stone Wall riots, Mexican repatriation in the 30s, not letting women vote!), but never have I been told to hate it. So if you can't read Spanish (the article is from BBC Mundo, the Telemundo of the BBC), that's the gist of the story!
BBC article

Monday, May 12, 2008


Last week was Palestine Awearness Week. Various key note speakers and other activities took place throughout the whole week. The interesting part about the whole issue was the reaction by some members of the Jewish community here at CSULB. When author Anne Baltzer, a Jewish American Columbia graduate that has visited with people in Palestine and has toured different college campuses in the country to talk about the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, Rachel Bookstein, CSULB's Hillel director, was very disappointed on the alleged misleading information that Baltzer was giving in her presentation "Life In Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness, Stories and Photos."
According to Bookstein, Baltzer was not presenting the whole picture and that she was simplifying a much rather complicated issue. Bookstein questioned why Baltzer wasn't showing the pictures of terrorists and the ones who wish death to the people of Israel.
But Bookstein missed the whole point. Baltzer was trying to show a different picture than the one we are used to seeing on our local TV news. When was the last time that Palestine school girls are shown taking the bus at 3 a.m. just to make it in time to school because they have to cross the many check points.
Bookstein also mentioned to the reporter (me) that she wasn't surprised that a Jewish person would think that way and that Baltzer should be more careful with this type of information.

Media Credit: Chay Chhuon
Jewish author Anna Baltzer discusses "Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness, Stories and Photos" at the Beach Auditorium Tuesday afternoon. In this slide, she describes the discrepancy between international outlets concerning Isreali-Palestanian conflicts.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Current TV is a fairly new cable station that features a lot of "citizen journalism" if you will. Some of the subjects that these pods deal with are very interesting issues that don't usually make it to mainstream media.
Check this pod about the racism that is going on in Russia and the neo-Natzi movement among Russian youth. The cruelty commited agaisnt different immigration groups is very graphic, so beware.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Check out this extremely touching video. Is part of a project called Pangea Day. According to its YouTube page, this video is part of a "powerful series of films to be shown on Pangea Day, May 10. The day the world comes together through film."

The goal of Pangea Day is to show people across the world what they have in common and to see past borders, difference and conflict.
There will be locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Rio De Janeiro. All these countries will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music and visionary speakers.
In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the TED Prize, an annual award granted at the TED Conference. She was granted $100,000, and more important, a wish to change the world. Her wish was to create a day in which the world came together through film. Pangea Day grew out of that wish. Watch Jehane Noujaim’s 2006 acceptance speech now.

Minorities attacked

Unless you were no where near the Friendship Walk today, you missed on some spectacle of outright haterism (the Urban Dictionary definition of the act of hating). Under the blanket of free speech, a group of men displaying signs that listed "homos", "lesbos" and Roman Catholics as evil human beings, got into heated arguments with some students. Female students were specially enraged by comments made by one of the men who identified himself as Jeremy. He condemned women who didn't obey their husband and called them loud-mouth women.

Jeremy Sonnier, a member of a group of Christian religious activists who visited Cal State Long Beach on Monday, is challenged by a group of students. Signs warning of judgment against Jews, Muslims, gays and other groups drew fire from students. (Stephen Carr/Press-Telegram Staff Photographer )

The group attracted a big crowd of students, faculty members and even some police officers, althouth their enforcement was not needed at any time.
A student who identified himself as a gay male confronted Robert, another member of the alleged religious group. When this student pulled out his own bible, he asked Robert to show him where it read that he was going to hell for being a homosexual. After a few word exchanges, Robert said that he didn't want to talk to him anymore and turned his back on the student.
After a few hours, the crowd became smaller and so did the group's strenght to keep on screaming. Many students where schocked that this type of individuals are allowed to talk trash about women, gays and Muslims (among other minority groups) and still get away with it.
Erin Swetland, ASI's newly elected president, was collecting signatures to complain against these type of individuals to the school.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


The Thursday before Spring Break, the United Migrant Student Association and the Philipino American Coalition, just to name a few, sponsered the 7th Annual Cesar Chavez Celebration. There were a variety of foods and speakers included author Victor Villasenor and Asian American Studies Professor Linda Maram.
According to Maram, this is the first time in CSULB that both the Latino and Philipino community come together to celebrate both Chavez and Cruz. The two men were key figures in the civil rights movement for farmworkers in the 1960s and were part of the United Farm Workers Executive Board.
Maram said also said that Latino and Philipino students have the same struggles when it comes to higher education. She says that their socioeconomic status are one, not the only, of the factors that are keeping the low graduation numbers for these groups.

The UFW Executive Board in 1973 included veteran farmworker organizers and activists:
(l-r) Dolores Huerta, Mack Lyons, Richard Chavez, Cesar Chavez, Eliseo Medina,
Philip Veracruz, Gilbert Padilla, Marshall Ganz and Pete Velasco.

Monday, March 17, 2008


According to Times Higher Education website, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) ranked on the top 200 best universities in the world last year. It is with this university that CSULB Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos is trying to create a student exchange program with his California-Mexico Project.
In a recent California-Mexico Policy Issues seminar, Vazquez-Ramos tried to entice a crowd of CSULB faculty and students to take part in this event. Already, 15 to 20 faculty members have shown some interest in taking part of the project.
Despite the fact that we border Mexico, there isn't a student exchange programs. According to Vazquez-Ramos, students and faculty from both universities will get a chance to learn about each other's countries and create a relationship between the two countries that goes beyond immigration.
Recently, College of Liberal Arts Dean Jerry Riposa agreed to help out with the program and find ways to facilitate it. Although the program is still on its "drawing board" phase, Vazquez-Ramos has been taking students to Mexico for the past few years and beginning what is yet to be an official program.
Although the representative for UNAM was not able to attend the seminar, Riposa said that he's glad to take part of the project and make it official.
Because they couldn't meet, Riposa said that he couldn't estimate the cost of the project.

Picture of UNAM's library:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


There are various events that will be taking place on campus that have to do with minorities. One of them is taking place tomorrow at the CSULB Anatol Center (AS 110). The College of Liberal Arts, the Chicanot & Latino Studies Department, the California-Mexico Project and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) will be putting this event together.
This event is aimed at CSULB faculty and students and to update them on the current relationship between California and Mexico.
It will be interesting to see what new developments have arised since the last seminar that occurred back in 2005. CSULB Lecturer Armando Vazquez-Ramos wrote a piece for regarding that year's event and explaining why peolw should attend. Here's a link to that piece:
Here's a picture of Vazquez-Ramos (all the way to the right) at the Raza center:

Ever since 9/11, people have come to view Islam as a controversial religion. But like any other religions in the world, it is different and with its own practices. What a better way to learn about this religion than to actually learning about it. The Muslim Student Association is putting this together. So go!

And as long as we're on the subject of Islam on school campuses, read this amazing article from OC Weekly's Derek Olson. Link:

This event will be held on March 18th and 19th. Both will deal with the issue of cultural misconceptions. The March 19th event will be specifically focused on Latinos.
The flyer:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


As part of Homecoming week, the Multicultural Festival was held on Monday, Mar. 3 at the University Student Union Ballrooms.
Dr. James Manseau Sauceda tried to keep his speech vibrant by getting the audience to participate with a few body movements.
Dr. Sauceda was kind enough to talk to me about the current state of minorities on campus and how much diversity we actually have on campus.
For those of you who don’t know who Dr. Sauceda is, he’s the current director and founder of the Multicultural Center. You can read his bio here:
He emphasized the need to try and figure out ways to bring minorities to other departments, not just ethnic studies. In other words, minority faculty shouldn’t be pigeon holed to a single department just because of their last name.
He also said that faculty needs to be aware of the assisting programs available to students who may not be capable of keeping up with the load of classes.
Sometimes we forget that not all students receive the same quality of education. Dr. Sauceda suggested that faculty should be required to know about those services so that they can help their students succeed.
Guest speaker and Nigeria native Myrenna Ogbu explained the different assumptions that people have about Nigerians and the importance of understanding each other as human beings.
She gave examples of how foods in all countries are practically the same, except they are cooked slightly different. Some use more pepper than others, some use different oils.
Ogbu, who is a storyteller and a poet, was wearing a traditional ceremonial robe from Nigeria. When I met up with her outside the USU Ballrooms, she explained that she wore the buba (the shirt), lapa (the skirt), sha (the shawl), and the gale (the hat) as a way to show others that what she wears is no different from the things she wears in her country.

Ballet Folklorico Colibri and CSULB Bellies provided music and dancing for entertainment.
It was the CSULB Bellies who attracted the attentions of people who were just passing by the ballrooms. They did various renditions of belly dancing. From a tango infused dance to two popular songs by Shakira and hip-hop genius Timbaland.
Here's Shakira doing her own form of belly dancing.