Academics

Nuestra Casa, the Center for Latine Deaf Studies, hosted three events April 4-6 with Dr. Jamila Guerrero-Cantor, G-’07, a social justice advocate who has done extensive research on Deaf undocumented Mexican immigrants navigating college in California. Guerrero-Cantor also serves as Secretary of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, working alongside the legendary co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW).

The first event, held in the G-area, focused on Guerrero-Cantor’s research and the importance of concepts such as intersectionality. Attendees shared about challenges they have faced, including the fear or embarrassment that Deaf Latine individuals experience when attending any type of meeting about immigration. There was also a discussion of the lack of representation and cultural knowledge among interpreters, which makes it harder for them to fully represent Deaf people of color.

A group of people sitting in an auditorium, looking at camera, smiling.

A screening of a documentary about Huerta, co-sponsored by the University Library, offered an in-depth look at the activist who has fought for the rights of undocumented Latine farm workers in and around California for decades. Many attendees were surprised to discover that she is a mother to 11 children, and continues to this day to fight for justice at 94 years old. The discussion after the film focused on what we think social justice should look like versus how it actually starts. It takes just one person to start a whole movement — like Huerta, who held town meetings to find out what changes farm workers wanted to see, and that led to the creation of the UFW. The group also considered the importance of community and how support makes change. The documentary showed how different organizations banded together during the grape boycott, known as the Delano Grape Strike. Guerrero-Cantor used this example to encourage attendees to join organizations that interest them, continue these conversations with friends and family members, and remember the UFW rallying cry, “Si Se Puede!”

Attendees at a lunch, co-sponsored by the Multicultural Student Programs, unpacked what it means to navigate social justice as a BIPOC Student Leader. They thought about one of Huerta’s most famous quotes: “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.” And inspired by Huerta’s story, they explored how they could boost Latine representation on campus. Guerrero-Cantor facilitated a respectful and honest conversation that allowed everyone to contribute their personal experiences and knowledge. Nuestra Casa looks forward to watching these student leaders make a difference and turn their longing for representation and community into a reality.

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