“The Trump Card” Event held to highlight challenges Latinos face


Courtney Luciana – Special to Southern News

A diverse community of students, staff and New Haven residents assembled in the Adanti Student Center ballroom on Oct. 15 to unionize the Latino culture. The evening was represented by a group of local Hispanic panelists, who each delivered the challenges they have faced in this country.

The event, titled “The Trump Card,” began with Robert Heron, vice president of the Organization of Latin American Students, displaying a clip of the derogatory, racial remarks made by current GOP candidate, Donald Trump. Trump said that he classifies undocumented Hispanic immigrants as “criminals, rapists and drug dealers.”

The commissioners of the event collectively swallowed the distasteful comments, but responded by cultivating an equivalent message as a whole: America aches for change. Fernando Muñiz, Deputy Commissioner for Administration at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), noted the continuous issue that is running our country. “It’s not what Trump said, it’s what others didn’t say,” said Muñiz.

While the criticism made by Trump was demoralizing, it casted the opportunity for a revolution in order to debunk the ongoing perception of the Hispanic stereotype. Jordy Padilla, a native Ecuadorian and alumni of the University of New Haven, told audience members that Trump’s judgment only represents narrow ideas over facts.

“We need to all embrace our struggles and present ideas,” said Padilla.

The discussion elevated toward “Elections 101” which encouraged individuals to educate themselves on the primaries of the election, to present ideas, and to make voting a priority.   Moderator Dr. Rafael Hernandez, a SCSU Spanish professor, took initiative in directing audience members to the tables posted outside the auditorium where anyone could take up registering to vote.

Raquel Santiago-Martinez, alumni of SCSU and producer of CRT’s new business development that renovates community sustainability, exercised her concerns in addressing a common form of disrespect made towards the Hispanic community.

“It’s called undocumented, not illegal. Start getting others to call these members ‘undocumented’ or nothing at all. They pay taxes, social security, and take jobs on that others don’t want to take,” she said.

A powerful message was conveyed that it is crucial to express change for our country instead of manifesting disgust around Trump’s words. The people of America harvesting a passion for bilingual and bicultural communities can make a direct change.  Recent Pew studies conducted in 2011 revealed that Connecticut alone inhabited 343,000 (76 percent) bilingual households. There is no logic behind shooting down advancement in what is known as the land of opportunity.

Southern student Jonathan Plaza, who takes immense pride in his Latino culture, stood up in the crowd to encourage his colleagues on how to suspend the broken formalities that have been made against the Hispanic population.

“It’s necessary to have a broader scope that doesn’t get wrapped up in all of these political divisions that are constantly bombarding us,” said Plaza. “The greatest thing you could do especially as a young individual is constantly educate yourself. The next time you’re spending some time on the weekend and one of your friends invites you to a party why don’t you instead take a minute to pick up a book, a newspaper article, or go online and research important topics.”

The conversation concluded with a reminder made by Dian Brown-Albert, coordinator of Multicultural affairs, to not allow for the intentions of a revolution to expire but to keep spreading the message. With the rising of the 2016 presidential election, it is essential for everyone to make it a priority to take advantage of their voice and make an impact on behalf of our country.  

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas

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