Jane Addams Hull House Museum hosted the 2nd event celebrating the creation of LALS with “The Founding of LALS: Together in the Struggle” this past Wednesday, November 5, 2014. The program opened with remembrances of those days in the late 70’s where the Latino student population was between 300-500. Ada López, Jesús García, Danny Solis, Celia Justiniano, Lillian Ferrer and José E. López were the voices recalling the struggle that took place that led to the creation of Latin American and Latino Studies Program. Later on, the struggle continued for the establishment of Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES) and the development of the Latino Cultural Center Rafael Cintrón Ortiz. Students fought for their creation of all of these programs, they were fought for – in order to support their academic and cultural development.
Listening to the history of the founding of LALS from actual participants such as Carlos Heredia, UIC alumnus and Educator, Jose E. Lopez, UIC adjunct lecturer and Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, along with Lilia Fernandez author of “Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in the Post-war Chicago,” were students from UIC, Columbia College, Roberto Clemente High School, and others that came from the community.
In his presentation, José E. López put forth that Chicago was the birth of the Latino political consciousness because of the intersection of active communities in the UIC struggle like the Mexican and Puerto Rican communities and all the others who fought along with them, to demand the establishment of the Latin American and Latino Studies program in the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also reminded everyone present that as the population of Latino students on campus has grown above 25% making it possible for UIC to become a Hispanic Serving Institution now is the time to strengthen and further develop our existing programs like Latin American and Latino Studies, the Latino Cultural Center, LARES, HCOE, as well as programs like Gender and Women Studies, African American and Asian Studies, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Program.
Amalia Pallares, director closed the evening by thanking the audience of over 100 people for their participation, as well as, The Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Roberto Clemente Community Academy Students for videotaping the interviews presented, Que Ondee Sola student newsmagazine from Northeastern Illinois University and its Editor, Alyssa Villegas for their partnership in covering the 40th in it’s November issue, the Latino Cultural Center and LARES for their ongoing technical and organizational support, the professors who brought their students to this event and last but not least the UIC students who volunteered to help with this event and our planning committee members that also lent us their helping hands.