In 1968, in the midst of social and political struggle and in the midst of the Chicano intellectual and civil rights movement, Chicano Studies was born at Cal State LA.  Our 50th commemoration year is more than a celebration. Our commemoration is a remembrance, a tribute to those whose shoulders we stand on. We remember that prior to 1968 the discipline of Chicana/o studies did not formally exist. As the first Chicano Studies program in the nation, Cal State LA helped open the doors to the development of this interdisciplinary field of study.  From the very beginning and to this day, its foundation has been in community-engaged scholarship, civic engagement, and work for (and with) our local communities.  

The Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies (CLS) is a small department both in terms of tenure-track faculty and majors, but we have experienced impressive growth in our majors over the last year at about 37%. We offer about 150 courses a year, and nearly all of our undergraduate courses are filled to capacity. The growth might be partially due to the tragic political climate we are in and students looking for an intellectual space that gives them the tools to both make sense of injustice and do something to alter these injustices. It might also be due to the fact that ethnic studies as a discipline is largely being embraced as a crucial field of study. This is seen especially in K-12 where California has moved toward having ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement. And finally, I know it is also due to our amazing lecturers and tenure/tenure-track faculty who work closely with very dedicated students.  

Our 50th anniversary year kicked off in September with over 1000 guests listening to a lecture by Dolores Huerta , and we have followed with monthly anniversary events. Our October event included the Chicana/o music documentary, Our Man in Tokyo , with the local music trio El Haru Kuroi . The November event was a powerful panel and art exhibit on the visual politics and representations of Central Americans in Los Angeles. The December event (December 6) included the first of a three-part Chicana/o education film series. We continue to invite the campus and local communities as well as our alumni to attend our spring anniversary events.   

Via this inaugural department newsletter and future newsletters, we look forward to keeping you informed and highlighting accomplishments of our students, faculty, alumni, and those in our communities.  
Student in front of a podium giving a presentation. A student is looking at her.

Stephany Bravo (pictured left), a CLS graduate student, gave a research presentation at UC San Diego as part of the Sally Casanova summer internship program. Her mentor was Omar Padilla, a CLS M.A. graduate and current doctoral student in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UCSD. Bravo was also recently chosen to be part of the MUSE Scholars Program at Michigan State University where she will be presenting her work to faculty.

¡Adelante, Stephany!  
Congratulations to our CLS minors, majors, and master's degree program students who received scholarships and fellowships for the 2018-2019 school year.
Rios Scholarship  
Ray Pineda, Sharon Pelaez & Kristina Carbajal

Maria Elena & Feliz Gutierrez Scholarship  
Kenneth Vallance & Michelle Holguin  
Samuel Freeman Scholarship   
Cynthia Alonso, Jessica Rodriguez Lazo & Michelle Morataya 
CLS Graduate Fellowship   
Bridget Garcia Vera, Giovanna Diaz, Nick Rivas & Esperanza Juarez  
CLS Students – Active on campus y en la comunidad 
Students marching in the street. They are carrying poster signs.
Students organized the event, Bike Ride and March, to draw attention to gendered violence.  (Photo: Rudy Melendez) 
Students sitting on the floor and standing in the hallway of King Hall. They are listening to a lecture or presentation being given.
Ellie Virrueta Ortiz and Anthony Robles worked with professors Alejandro Covarrubias and Anthony Ratcliff to give a hallway lecture on the Los Angeles Death Zones which includes communities with high incidents of law enforcement lethal use of force.  (Photo: Rudy Melendez) 
Students and faculty standing in front of a desk taking a picture.
CLS graduate students with faculty at orientation welcoming the fall 2018 cohort. ¡Bienvendios!   
Students and faculty gathered around a Dia De Los Muerto alter. They are smiling at the camera.
CLS graduate students and MALCS members receive third place with their social justice altar for the Día de los Muertos celebration.
Can you share a little bit about your educational journey and what you do now professionally?  
I was the first person in my family to attend college. For my undergraduate studies, I had a dual major of Chicano Studies and counseling and then went on to obtain my master's degree in counseling. 

My career has taken many twists and turns, however the education I received was the foundation for everything I have accomplished in life. I currently have a successful executive coaching business and serve as president of the City of Los Angeles' multi-billion-dollar pension fund. I am an author, inspirational speaker and a professor. 

I am humbled to say that throughout my career, I have been acknowledged for my hard work and have received over 50 awards and accolades. 

After leaving college, I worked in the workers compensation field for many years as a rehabilitation counselor providing services to workers who had been injured on the job. As the laws changed, I needed to reinvent myself and went to work for the City of Los Angeles as a public works commissioner and then as an executive at the Port of Los Angeles. 

Three years ago, I started my own consulting firm and provide executive coaching, leadership training and strategic guidance to both public and private organizations. 

Why was Chicana(o) and Latina(o) studies an important discipline for you to study? I come from two cultures: Mexican on my dad’s side and Native American (Cherokee) on my mom's side. Growing up, I never felt like I fit in to either one. Since I don’t speak Spanish, I didn’t always fit in to the Latino world. I am an Urban Native American and my tribe is based in Oklahoma, so I didn’t always fit into that world. 

When I started at Cal State LA at age 17, I was trying to find my place in the world. Chicano studies (at the time) provided me with context and I felt connected. I also became president of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán ( MECHA), which helped me develop my leadership and speaking skills. 

It also gave me a historical view of how my two worlds fit together and the understanding that my two cultures are very similar rather than different. My indigenous roots are traced to both sides of the borders before there were even borders. 

How have you been able to apply/use Chicana(o) and Latina(o) studies beyond college?  
The lasting impact it has had on me is a sense to give back to my community and help others. For the last decade I have been on the board of a non-profit, Girls Today Women Tomorrow , which is a mentorship and leadership program that works with young Latinas around four pillars: education, wellness, leadership and service .  Being one of the lucky ones to receive an education, I feel a calling to empower the next generation; in particular, young women since Latinas are on the rise.  

What consejos do you have for current students who are taking courses in Chicana(o) and Latina(o) studies?   
Chicano (a)/Latino (a) studies are so important because our history is not always taught in school. Knowing your roots and understanding the sacrifices others have made to open the doors of education to you can change your life forever. When you invest in your education, not only does it change your life it will change the lives of your family members forever. Education is a road to economic freedom and empowerment. Once you obtain your college degree, no one can ever take it from you and you will realize your sacrifices will pay off - so don’t give up! 

Believe in yourself! Anything is possible in this world. You need to believe it's possible. Do the work and never give up.  

Rise to your power not only as an individual but also as a community…
Can you share a little bit about your educational journey and how you came to study in the field of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies? 
How I ended up in Chicana/o Latina/o studies was unexpected. I actually went to college believing I was going to be a mathematician or an electrical engineer. During my first year, however, I took an African American women's literature class and fell in love with the literary arts. That course featured the works of iconic authors such as Lorraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Ntozake Shange, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, and others. Octavia Butler even visited our class once and I got to sit right in front of her as she read from her science fiction classic  Kindred . After that author visit, math as a major didn't stand a chance. Although not a Chicana text, Zora Neale Hurston's  Their Eyes Were Watching God  was also a catalyst in my academic journey. It was the first book I ever read that validated my "non-standard" English, my multiple languages, and my code-switching as a Chicana. African American women's literature was my gateway into my first Chicana/o literature courses and eventually an ethnic studies major. I've never stopped "literaturing" since! 

*Literaturing: to read, study, teach, write, and dream literature 

What’s your area of specialty within Chicana/o and Latina/o studies and what courses do you teach? 
My specialties and greatest academic passions are literature and writing. I teach Mexican Literature in Translation, Pre-Columbian Myths in Latin American Literature, and Chicanx Literature.

Why do you believe it is important to teach/offer Chicana/o and Latina/o studies? 
This is a huge question. Here are some among many more reasons:
  • To bring voice, color, flesh to that which has traditionally been left out of "American" history/herstory, literature, and the social sciences.  
  • To talk-back to the silences. To crack open those silences. To fill in those silences.  
  • To help us grapple with and dismantle the "-isms" that oppress and disempower us as a people.  
  • To explore the multiplicities of our community.  
  • To build intersectional solidarity within and outside of our community.
  • To critically examine the notion of "Latinidad" and our own historical-isms and pitfalls, such as internalized oppression, perpetuation of patriarchy and homphobia, racism and violence against our own indigenous and Afro-latinx members.
  • To make sense of contemporary issues.  
  • To raise consciousness.  
  • To honor and celebrate our contributions, our social movements, and our art.
  • To resist.  

If you could create a new course with a specific area of emphasis what would it be and why? 
I would love to teach a Chicanx Latinx Young Adults Literature course. 

Why not. I find this genre is rarely taught at the college level in CLS departments and I wonder why. There are currently so many exciting young adult (YA) books by Latinx authors that are coming out. I'd love to share some of these with our students.
Ester Hernandez, Ph.D., co-edited book.  U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles, and Communities of Resistance  (2017), won first place for the Best Nonfiction - Multi-Author Book at the International Latino Book Festival in September!  

In 2018, Valerie Talavera-Bustillos, Ph.D., developed a community engagement partnership with Payne Elementary School in El Monte. The principal, Hugo Moreno, Ph.D., is an alum of the department’s M.A. program and is a longtime supporter of Cal State LA CHS/CLS students. 
Anguiano, José. (2018). “Soundscapes of Labor and Belonging: Mexican Custodians’ Radio Listening Practices at a Southern California University.”  Journal of Popular Music Studies  30. 1-2: 127-154.  

Covarrubias, Alejandro., Nava, P. E., Lara, A., Burciaga, R., Velez, V. N., and Solorzano, D. G. (2018). Critical race quantitative intersections: a testimonio analysis.  Race, Ethnicity, and Education, Vol 21 (2) 253-273.  

Delgado Bernal, Dolores. (2018). A Testimonio of Critical Race Feminista Parenting: Snapshots from My Childhood and My Parenting. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(1).

Lopez, Michelle. (2018). Co-curator for the Entre Tinta y Lucha: 45 Years of Self Help Graphics & Art exhibition at the Cal State LA Fine Arts Museum. The exhibit will be traveling to CSU, Bakersfield in January 2019.

THU | DEC 6 
12:15 – 1:30 PM • USU Theatre  
Excerpts from the documentaries Lemon Grove Incident and Truth Seekers will be screened and Cal State LA scholars, Lany Cupchoy Ph.D., and Francisco Balderrama Ph.D., share their work on community activism for educational justice and equity.  

THU | FEB 7  
12:15 - 1:30 •   USU THEATER  
Professor Nadine Bermudez shares her research alongside original plaintiffs of Mendez vs. Westminster 1947, the first case to hold that school segregation is unconstitutional and violates the 14th Amendment.  

WED | FEB 20  
3:05 - 4:20 • USU LOS ANGELES ROOM  
Join activists from the community and academia for a circle dialogue about community issues, resistance, indigeneity, resiliency, and love.  

12:15 - 1:30 • USU Theater  
With excerpts from, Taking Back the Schools, 1968 walkout participants, alumni Bobby Verdugo and Associate Dean Rita Ledesma, will reflect on their participation and current struggles for educational equality.  

WED | MARCH 20  
Limited Enrollment  
Using dialogue and performance with students, Grammy-winning Quetzal Flores and Mexican-born Australian rapper and songwriter Maya Jupiter explore Chicanx/Latinx studies as a radical and transformative space for social justice work.  

WED | APRIL 17  
3:05 - 4:20 • Los Angeles Room  
Come listen to the poesίa and prose of four womyn writers whose verses transverse local and international fronteras. From Centro América to México to Los Angeles and beyond, ¡Aquί estamos! 
The Department of Chicana(o) & Latina(o) Studies master's degree program applications for fall 2019 are due  February 15th, 2019!                  
Have questions? Stop by our office located in King Hall C4069
Give today to support the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies.
Newsletter Editor: CLS M.A. student, Giovanna Diaz