This month I attended the 88th National Convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) held in San Antonio, July 3-8, 2017. Founded in Texas in 1929, LULAC is the oldest civil rights organization of the Latino American community. Its mission is to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Latino population of the United States. Its longevity exemplifies its effectiveness in advocating for the equality of Latino community in America.
The convention was filled with plenaries and events featuring some of the most prominent
Latino American leaders in the country, among them Roger Rocha, Brent Wilkes, Henry Cisneros
, Anna Maria Chavez, Thomas Saenz, Victoria Neave, Joaquin Castro, and Carmen Perez, just to name a few. It also included town halls, professional development workshops, good food and fun! The highlight of this year’s convention was definitely the infamous civil rights and labor leader Dolores Huerta!
The convention featured a screening of the documentary “Dolores.” To top it off, Dolores Huerta attended the event! Although I had not yet arrived at the convention, I heard all about the film and the excitement of having Ms. Huerta at the festivities. “Dolores” is a documentary about the life, leadership and contributions of Ms. Huerta. It will be officially released September 1, 2017.
Personally, my convention highlight was attending the screening of “Fail State: A Documentary on American Higher Education and the Student Loan Crisis.” Directed by Alex Shebanow, the film analyzes for-profit colleges and how they reinforce the system of inequality in America. The film chronicles how federal and state governments have defunded education, and in turn place the financial burden of funding education on individuals. For profit colleges are taking advantage of this system by targeting the poor and particularly poor people of color. On top of that, many for-profit colleges fail to provide a quality education. The film is a must see for all who are interested in higher education. As an advocate for college access and success, I was floored by the revelations of the film. Currently and unfortunately, not only do students have to deal with the challenges of trying to progress through college, they also have to deal with the challenges of selectively choosing a college to attend.
As an activist-scholar, I believe in the importance of education and activism. I believe that education films like “Delores Huerta” and “Fail State” will be extremely valuable in educating our communities about our history and issues that are important to us. I, therefore, encourage those of you who are educators, community leaders, and activists to bring both of these documentaries to your local area for viewing. You may consider partnering with local businesses/organizations and even your local LULAC chapter.
The LULAC conventions are like family reunions for me. I always enjoy each and everyone that I attend. It is great seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Congratulations LULAC for a successful event!