Advocacy and Heritage at Latinos Unidos

Nathan Kober

UW Whitewater Latinos Unidos met Thursday evening to plan future events and fundraisers and discuss Mexican history and culture.

Latino Unidos was founded by latino and hispanic students who felt they were underrepresented and decided to form an organization where they could stick together and advocate for themselves, according to vice president Marco Marquez.

As the meeting started sign up sheets were passed around for various events, including Boxes and Walls, a sort of haunted house where various rooms offer interactive experiences meant to educate students on issues of diversity and discrimination.

There were also members from organizations like Dream Scholars & Colleagues, or DSC, which advocates for undocumented students on campus.

Undocumented immigration has become a central political issues at the national level. An especially controversial moment came recently when president Donald Trump said he would end the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program.

In order to gain DACA status, undocumented immigrants had to give the government a comprehensive history of their personal lives, including addresses and employers, which many now fear will be used to as a deportation database.

Trump later announced a deal with democratic leaders to not end the program immediately, but the legal status for DACA’s 800,000 participants is still in limbo.

Although these issues are naturally relevant to many LU members, Marquez said the organization does not take any official political stances.

However, the organization is an open platform for various organizations to advocate for their causes and raise awareness.

“We still strive to be a place where people who feel underrepresented can talk about it and meet people to advocate with them,” Marquez said.

Organizations represented at the meeting gave information for various events and fundraisers, including a Pozole Sale hosted by the Zeta Sigma Chi, Multi Cultural Sorority, and a deep fried oreo sale from the Lamba Alpha Upstein Fraternity.

After these various announcements, which took about 40 minutes of the meeting, a presentation on Mexican history and culture was given by e-board member Abraham Avarez.

Mexico, like all South American nations is an amalgamation of cultures that collided in the colonial order.

Averaz pointed out that the majority of Mexicans are catholic, not by their own origin, but because Spain, which took religion very seriously at the time, mandated the practice for all of its colonial subjects.

However, while the western powers tried to impose their own culture, the indigenous society that existed long before still shapes the present.

Averaz made a point in his presentation to stress the sophistication of the indigenous society that existed for thousands of years, as well as pointing out that much of what is now the United States was part of Mexico for most of its history.

However, of all his country’s cultural achievements, Averaz said the food is his favorite.

“Nothing like it,” Averaz said, “especially when my mom cooks it.”

To close out the meeting, Averaz and other e-board members lead the group through a couple Mexican dances, including El Caballo Datado, which bears a resemblance to the Cha-Cha Slide.                                                                    Optimized-DSC00078


Marquez said the structure of this meeting was fairly typical, where about half of the time is spent allowing members to raise awareness for their various causes or events, and the rest is spent focusing on some part of Latino heritage.

Marquez also said he thinks the turnout this year is growing compared to previous years, with more than 60 people showing up to the first meeting, and nearly fifty a few weeks in.

Latinos United meets every Thursday at 5 pm in the University Center.

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