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Latinx clubs at Cuesta College

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Members and former members of Latinx clubs at a conference meeting. Top row, left to right: Karla Zamora, Araceli Ruvalcaba, Fredy Herrera. Bottom row: Tania Chairez. Photo by Guadalupe Angeles

Cuesta College is an inclusive institution committed to creating welcoming and supportive classrooms and campus environments that supports all students to achieve their dreams and honor their diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Part of the population that makes up Cuesta College is the Latinx community. Latinx is a person of Latin American origin or descent. The term is used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina. The current Latinx clubs available on campus are: M.E.Ch.A club, LLN club and Dreamers United Club.

M.E.Ch.A

M.E.Ch.A is a club about encouraging students to promote higher education for Chicanos/Chicanas, and to pursue the discovery and maintenance of their culture and historical roots. The club focuses on advocating students’ self-determination to advance in their families. M.E.Ch.A believes that education, social justice, and political involvement will create a change in society that will benefit the community. 

The goals of the club are to promote Chicano/Chicana culture and values, attempt to solve problems encountered by Chicanos/Chicanas, develop self-determination and pride in their students and to develop strong bonds outside the community. 

Some activities for members include developing leadership skills, attending field trips and conferences, planning and hosting activities such as fairs and club day, joining several committees provided by the club and meeting outside of school for fun projects.

The club is open to any enrolled Cuesta College student that identifies as Chicano/Chicana, Latinx, or anyone who agrees with the purpose and goals of the club. The main purpose of the club is to promote the advancement of Chicano/Chicana and Latinx in higher education and develop unity. 

 “Students should join M.E.Ch.A to engage with other students, develop their network of like-minded acquaintances and friends while helping to build a movement that will positively impact their lives.” said Lizbeth Matamoros, president of M.E.Ch.A club. “In M.E.Ch.A they will find a sense of family, positive reinforcement, support, bonding, and a way of giving to a greater cause.” 

Dreamers United Club 

The Dreamers United Club focuses on creating awareness, supporting its members and providing resources for undocumented students to assure their personal and academic success.

The purpose of the club is to create awareness of the barriers undocumented students face while pursuing their academic goals. The goals of the club include: creating a safe and welcoming place for undocumented students, learning about resources at Cuesta College and the community, providing access to scholarships and other funding opportunities, and collaborating with other clubs to promote diversity.

A few activities individuals get to do include attending conferences, receiving weekly opportunities, being informed about what is going on around the community, having a student panel, learning leadership skills and learning more about the Latinx culture.

Anyone who identifies as an AB540 student, an undocumented student, or anyone who supports the purpose of the club is welcome to Dreamers United Club. 

“I find it important to help other students like me to recognize that power within and the importance education holds, when people see us, they will no longer imagine a farmworker, dishwasher, construction laborer or cutting lawns, we will become CEOs, doctors, teachers, scientists, we are greater and unafraid,” said Fredy Herrera, president of the Dreamers United Club.

Latino Leadership Network Student Club:

The Latino Leadership Network Student Club (LLN) is a club about leadership. Overall, it is a supportive network. LLN envisions a strong network for Latinxs within the California Community College system guided by diverse leadership at all levels that supports and fosters exemplary and equitable educational and employment opportunities.

The LLN is a mutual support and advocacy organization committed to providing effective opportunities to develop innovative approaches to increase the participation of Latinx’s in leadership roles and to promote and maintain Latinx culture and non-sexist familial values.

 LLN’s main goals include: Maintaining a statewide educational and leadership network for Latinxs in the community, developing methodologies to address and overcome the systemic inequities that impede access and success of Latinxs in the community and mentoring other Latinxs so that they can achieve educational advancement.

The club also ensures that the members are developing leadership skills, affirm and promote activities that celebrate the historical and cultural heritage of all Latinx’s, and establish and maintain supportive alliances beyond the community colleges.

Members of the club have the chance to participate in activities such as volunteering for high school conferences, being involved in charity drives, going on hikes, beach clean-ups, and overseeing fundraisers and campus activities. Anyone who believes in the missions and goals of the club is welcomed to LLN.

 “People should join LLN because it allows students to network, we are very culture oriented, anybody can join and you don’t have to be Mexican to be a part of our club, we welcome any cultural events because we always want to be inclusive,” said Rubi Blanca, president of the LLN club.

Note about the Latinx clubs:

Since Cuesta College classes are being held online, and it is recommended to stay at home, the meetings for the Dreamers United Club and the LLN club are still being discussed at the time of posting this story. Check back for further updates. M.E.Ch.A club is currently holding their meetings via Zoom, a video conferencing application, on Wednesdays from noon to 1:30 pm, but the meetings are subject to change. Email jflorez@cuesta.edu for more information on joining the club and for meeting time.