El Centro Latino: “Continuing the Fight”

LACC eventOn Jan. 22, 2012, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the C-120 C conference room, members of El Centro Latino and the Latin American Culture Club held an event entitled “Continuing the Fight” both  in celebration and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his movement and the legacy he left behind.

Speaking at the event were the Director of El Centro Latino Gabriela Gonzalez, LACC President Andrea Torres, LACC Vice President Victor Morales, Community Organizer Esteban Ginocchio Silva and Faculty Adviser Henry Amaya.  Attending were various faculty, staff, administrators, members of both El Centro Latino and the LACC and several BC students.

To start off the event, a short video about Dr. King was shown, enlightening the audience about the story of King’s early life, his evolution into a leader of the civil rights movement and the legacy he left behind upon his assassination April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

Following the video, audience members were asked to participate in a game referred to as “Identity Privilege,” in which all participants were given two tokens and told they would then gain and lose tokens as the game progressed. Questions designed to highlight the “privileges” those marginalized by society have to do without were then posed, and depending on each person’s answer to the question, the audience would then each take or discard of a token. Instructions included “If your parents have gone to college and have a degree, take a token”; “If you rely solely on financial aid to go to college, discard a token”; “If you have ever been denied from a college because you are not a U.S. citizen, discard a token,” “If you are able to afford a medical emergency, take a token”; “Do you feel your people were represented in your history classes? If yes, take a token, if no, discard a token.”

At the end of the activity, audience participants were asked to look at how many tokens they did or did not have, and reflect on how things have changes since the days of Dr. King.

“We are the generation of tomorrow, and we’re going to have a lot of influence on the decisions made in our community,” said Gonzalez. “What are we going to do about reaching that dream community?”

Amaya addressed a list of stereotypes targeted at Latinos and spoke of how stereotypes still affect people around the world today, despite the sacrifices made by people wanting to forward King’s dream.  “Stereotypes are used and abused as a way to put people down,” said Amaya. However, on that same note, Amaya also stressed the idea that in striving for equality for all, it is at the same time just as important to recognize the individual and cultural contributions of all, and “by saying ‘we are all equal’ it takes away the fact that we are all actually very different.”

Following, the floor was opened up to the audience who were then asked to share their thoughts on the legacy of MLK and how it is still relevant today.  At this time, students and staff alike opened dialogues as how everyone as a community can forward the dream that Dr. King left behind. Email elcentrolatinodir@bellevuecollege.edu for more information.