Students share what it means to be latinx
Jacob Waring – Reporter
Through tears, Carol Fragoso, a freshman, said her biggest fear is her mother being deported.
“She’s fighting for her residency right now,” she said, at the Voices of SCSU Hispanic/ Latinx Community: A Conversation from the Student’s Perspective panel discussion. “She had an appointment to go to court this past January. Ever since Trump came into office, all the appointments were canceled. So, now she has to wait ‘till next year of February to see if she gets her residency or not.”
Student leaders such as Alba Turcios, president of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), Dayana Lituma, president of Sigma lota Alpha (SIA) and Oliver Reinoso, president of Lambda Alpha Upsilon (LAU), Tyler Shaw, a resident advisor, and Fragoso.
For Shaw, he said his fear being Latino would be needing to settle. He said settling would be along the lines of not going to college, getting a job, and being okay with being content.
He said his grandfather did not graduate high school, he was content and made enough money without a high school degree. He also said his grandfather installed the same working mentality in his mother who tried to do the same to Shaw. He said, growing up, his mother would always tell him to work and to be content.
He said his father supported him, and after his parents divorced, he told him, “Go to school and do what you need to do.”
According to Shaw, his mother was never fully on board, and recalled a memory of his mother dropping him off at Southern on Move-In day. He said he remembers how it felt like she did not think he had a chance.
“I remember my mom dropping me off and she kind of helped me move in and gave me a kiss on the cheek and was like, ‘good luck,’” said Shaw. “And just left. My roommate was in the room and was like, ‘You need a minute?’ but I just kind of played it off. It really stuck with me for a couple days, I don’t think she knew how it made me feel, just how she was like, ‘good luck.’ Like I didn’t have a chance.“
Turcios said how the community overall should go beyond the expectations of people outside the community, and how they should try to include them in various activities.
She said the Latino community should reach out to them, and make an effort to show those outside of their community that they care about their interactions with the Latino community.
“We need to go out there and not just be loud and make noise, but actually not just waste our breath but say things that matter,” said Turcios. “Talk to people when it matters. Address certain issues that matter and not make it awkward, but rather make it like a family environment.”
Reinoso said one aspect of the LAU organization is to make their members learn about their own history. Being Dominican, he said he had to learn about the culture which he was a part of and had to be sure his information was accurate.
“I had a project on my culture, and my facts had to be correct because they were all Dominican,” said Reinoso. “It was cool because I was asking them,
I started asking my parents how was it living in 1930 through the dictatorships. If it weren’t for LAU, I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t know about my culture because they forced me to look into it because I didn’t accept my culture until they forced it upon me.”
The advisor for OLAS and Assistant Director Transfer Student Advising, Anna Rivera-Alfaro, said, at the panel, her initial reason for becoming their advisor was to show students there were staff members who looked like them.
“I just honestly wanted them to see someone like them,” said Rivera-Alfaro said. “Over the years, and now an advisor, I have become more involved as
an advisor, and still, my main goal is for them – I walked in, and they were talking about not enough faculty that represents them,”
Rivera-Alfaro added, “So, I’m assuming that was that type of conversation, and I do want – I’m only one staff person. I’m not faculty. So at least on the staff side, I want them to see someone that looks like them.”
Rivera-Alfaro said as a people they hold a lot of pride, but do not know the whos, the whys and other lingering questions.
“A lot of us don’t know why, or what that really means, or who sacrificed what, or how we came to be,” she said.
Photo Credit: Jacob Waring