Advocacy Plans

For my advocacy project, I am pushing for an equal representation of multicultural history in education. Particularly, Hispanic effects on the United States throughout history. I plan to propose that we add weave this side of history into Stratford high school’s AP/ECE US History class curriculum. Spanish history is prevalent to this class because a recurring theme of this class according to the Stratford Board of Education is “America’s diversity“. This ethnic group makes up 17.8 percent (2017) of the US population, so it can be said that they make up a significant part of “America’s diversity”.  Not to mention, that this community has influenced policies and the country’s development, especially the push for civil rights. They were the many among the people who demanded a more inclusive country. Because of this Hispanic history is needed to be included, if we are striving for a true inclusive nation.

Simón, Yara. “Mexican.” Remezcla, 26 May 2016,

The lives of Hispanics in America throughout the years are being left out of the current course plans. They make a point to talk about things like slavery and its legacy, but does not stress that “one drop” of african blood makes you a slave. In the “one drop” rule, they specifically added hispanic/african-mixed people, calling them “Mestizos“. Students are then left with the impression that only black-africans suffered through slavery and its everlasting effects. A key part of the legacy of slavery is that it caused a inequality of opportunities. The fact that some latinos suffer this inequality, just life africans do; can be explained by slavery effects, yet this is overlooked by the current lesson plans.

“Breaking Down the Binary.” The Common Law,

A lasting consequence of slavery was segregation. Although, this era was well-known for its prejudice and discrimination against black people, Mexican-Americans faced the same issues. People are not being taught during the Mexican-American war unit, that as a part of the Guadalajara Hidalgo treaty, Mexican-Americans were considered racially white. However, they were illegally segregated due to the anti-immigration push. They were forced into separate schools, which were underfunded and under equipped. They even refused to offer bilingual classes for those who need them, as a way to try to get them to conform into speaking english. Not only were just the Mexican-Americans discriminated against, but the black latinos as well. Since Stratford high does not offer any courses that teach what constitutes a race versus an ethnicity, it is not common-knowledge that Hispanic is technically not a race, but an ethnicity. This allows for Hispanics to be a racially-ambiguous, thus resulting in black latinos. Since segregation in America was based on skin color, the latinos who had a darker complexion were considered black. This is important to teach the next generation about because of how this segregation leads to inequality and racial prejudice today, because of these “traditional” views on black people.

Even though these are all negative consequences that the history has had on the latino community, there are positive impacts that Hispanics have left on America. Due to these struggles for basic human rights in the past, Hispanics were a big contendendor in the civil rights movement. While black civil rights movements are addressed during the US History course, Chicano (Mexican-Americans) and Boricua’s (Puerto Rican) civil rights movements are not, even though they were occuring around the same time. Events like the 1968 Los Angeles high school “blowout”/walkout, should be being taught to students. This event consisted of hundreds of students in segregated schools, demanding for better guidance counselors, teachers, and bilingual classes. Many participants were arrested or beaten, just like the black civil rights movements. Even so, they still made a change, when the governor gave in to some of the demands.

This portion of the US population has strong ties to how America developed to how it is today. Its history should be broadcasted onto future generations so it can help them understand why some discrimination and prejudice still exists against Spanish people. This group is a piece of America’s identity and diversity, both which the US History class aims to display. These events and their impacts should be integrated into the course, so we can get a closer step to inclusivity in education and in America.

It Don’t Matter If You’re Black or White (If You’re Spanish)

Garcia-Navarro, Lulu. “Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign.” NPR, NPR, 27 Aug. 2015,

Every 10 years, US citizens are required to fill out a census to define how they would describe themselves. A major area of interest for the US Census Bureau is the race box. Although people tend to believe that individuals’ race is well-defined, for some it is not so. This problem is not just for a small percentage of Americans. In reality, it extends to the whole Hispanic population. Being of Latino descent is considered an ethnic group, not a race. Due to this distinction, these people are allowed to choose any race they feel they closely relate to (US Census Bureau). The racial ambiguity issue causes identity crises within the community. This is a social issue which is not spoken about much, yet has prevalence to the current disadvantages they face.

As a Hispanic myself, I have seen first-hand the confusion when this question of race is presented to fellow Latinos. Many associate with “white” or “black”, but a significant amount sides with the “other” category. Whichever they pick, is acceptable technically. However, race identification has a stronger effect on people than society is lead to think. This group floats between categories which can perspectively alter demographic information. Even though there is a seperate box for hispanic ethnicity, and they are sometimes separated when determining race demographics, some people can use their associated “race” to support their agenda. For example, colleges could take their Hispanic student population and throw them into the black race category to meet quotas or to show that they are a diverse campus. They may skew their numbers, without lying by law. This is important if we are truly trying to create an inclusive environment. It cannot be achieved if numbers are being swayed to exaggerate the diversity. Thus, preventing the inclusion movement from progressing, at least in the education aspect.

The misinterpretation of race can cause complications when implementing the demographic information in society. According to the US Census Bureau, they collect race information to create policies about civil rights and Federal programs, to promote equal occupational opportunities, and racial differences in health and environment studies. The confusion of where a Latino lies on race, can influence any of these programs. It could prevent or push for big policy changes in funding or support. Also, since race is used to determine civil right policy success, it even can be used as a measure of how inclusive the US is. Health and environmental studies focus on racial differences to plan their course of action to improve the issues within them. The fluctuation of this ethnic group can sway policy makers into actions which may not actually be based on what the citizens need.

Being uncertain of what race Hispanics will choose can effect them and society as a whole. Race is used as a determining factor in many government actions. The perplexity of this question of “what is your race?” has more problems connected to it than one would think. If citizens want an inclusive environment they need to make this racial ambiguity more clear cut, since this is halting progress. This inequality is not receiving the attention it should, even though it has strong ties to how society is run.

“Me 2 You 2 We All Want 2 Reduce Sexual Assault”

The “Me 2 You 2 We All Want 2 Reduce Sexual Assault” deliberation did not only tackle a controversial topic but it left a personal impact on me. The fact this is a relevant problem on campus, hits very close to home. There are people being victimized everyday. I see this through the copious sexual assault reportings sent through the police notification texting service. Sadly, these reported crimes are not including the abundance of unreported assaults that occur. Sexual assault is an issue which needs attention and immediate action.

Throughout this deliberation we discussed the different aspects of sexual assault such as education, consequences of offenders, and victim support. Each approach tailors to the different entities who can make a change. Stakeholders such as the government, public, media, families, and schools can all take action. We discussed how each one can can approach this topic even starting at a young age.

For the education portion, it was an agreement that families and schools should start the talk about consent with young children. It does not necessarily have to be about sexual assault when pertaining to consent. For example, they can teach children about asking for a hug instead of just doing it. This can help clarify exactly what it means to allow someone to breach your personal bubble, and to respect others’ personal space. It was surprising to find out that among the participant, only a few were taught what exactly consent means and how to ask for it. Even the media can reach people about sexual assault education by promoting campaigns and educating the public about consent, myths and stigmas surrounding these attacks. The government can sponsor these campaigns or spread the message through implementing laws to make both private and public schools educate with the same program. The fact that the idea that anything other than a verbal “yes” constitutes sexual assault was not commonly known, draws attention to the lack of education within our society.

This conversation made me realize that there is a need to teach society what defines consent starting at a young age. Today, most people are not being taught what it means until they are “of age”, which usually is around 16 years old. This portrays the message that consent can only be used in regards to sex. However, this is not the case. In fact, there are many actions that require consent, but many people assume permission even when it is not verbalized. This is demonstrated through actions like hugs. In America, it is considered unusual to ask for a hug, so people usually initiate the action without thinking about the other person’s approval. Regardless of the severity, it is still a breach of personal space. Hugs or any bodily contact should be invited by both parties. In order for consent education to be effective, we need to start by teaching children. We can see the effects of teaching consent at a late age with the high numbers of sexual assaults that we have today. In the Netherlands, children have to approve when someone asks for a hug, which is why this country has the lowest rates of sexual assaults. This showcases how if children are able to understanding how to ask and give permission, they will have a better understanding of what consent is for sex.

Overall, this deliberation opened my eyes to the various aspects of sexual assault which are not spoken about within society. The participant showed so much passion for this topic that we really analyzed each option and the pros and cons that is associated with them. I wish this deliberation was available for the public to see and for them to be apart of because it was one of the most impactful conversations I have participated in.

“Let’s Talk About Sex [Ed], Baby”

This week I attended the “Let’s Talk About Sex [Ed], Baby” deliberation and I was thoroughly impressed at how the event went. At first, I just picked it because of its catchy title, but while I was participating I realized that there really are Sexual Education issues within our school systems. This event revealed the extent to which this problem affects people today by focusing on mental health, social stigmas and sexual respect aspects. Based on their well-presented questions and facilitation they brought copious solutions to this prominent issue.

Throughout the deliberation, we hit on what should Sexual Education include and how we should approach it. We discussed about elementary through college education and if and how it should be implemented. Additionally, we went over the effects of sex education on everyday life. It was surprising to find out how many people’s sex ed. was very minimal and mainly focused on abstinence. The effects of this type of education and how it led to the “hush, hush” attitude of sex was stressed too. It was also interesting when an administrator pointed out how school education usually focuses on male sex organs, which can portray the idea that the male is dominant. She added how this emphasis on male anatomy causes the social stigma difference between sexes; how females are slut-shamed if they have “too many” sexual partners, and men are glorified for it. The ideas that were shared were full of insight and each person added a new perspective based on their personal experience.

At first, I never realized that this education varied tremendously from school to school. But, this experience opened my eyes to the problems with these different messages. The facilitators did a great job on allowing everyone to not only share their personal experiences, but also letting everyone share how their education affected their outlook. Sex education is notorious because no one wants to talk about it; they don’t feel comfortable enough to share their experiences and opinions. However, at this deliberation there was an open environment, where people voluntarily presented their ideas without hesitation.

Even with some conflicted perspectives, we collectively agreed that there are lacking aspects which need to be included in sex education. Aspects such as mental health pertaining to sexual activity (such as using sex as a coping mechanism after a break-up), is not being spoken about in schools. So, our proposed solutions were focused heavily on giving adolescents and even kids ways to cope. We decided that education should start from kindergarten about what consent means. Even on a basic level it can be taught, such as asking for a hug and giving permission instead of just doing it without mutual consent. Asking before can even lead to an equal amount of respect between sexes (sexual respect). We felt that teaching simplified concepts earlier on, can make a change about the stigmas and cultures that follow sex education.

Overall, this deliberation left a strong impact on me. It forced me to face the reality of the repercussions on the current education program and how we need to do more. At the same time, the diverse viewpoints presented me with the practical ways to give a more effective program to the next generation. This was an impressionable experience, that I believe was successfully facilitated.

“Bad” Barstools, But “Good” Bartending

A major civic issue in society has always been  alcohol abuse. I mean it was such a problem we banned it with the prohibition laws from 1920-1930. Alas, Americans love alcohol. It is such a big industry the government made it legal again. Today, the same issues are still prevalent. The main policy implemented to fix them, was to raise the drinking age. These laws have made it very difficult for adolescents to get alcohol. Although, this solution has dropped alcohol-related death rates by “… 26,173 in 1982 to 16,885 in 2005” (Boston University), it is still not foolproof. Many underage kids find loopholes, but there’s one loophole in particular which interests me; it’s the fact that 18-20 year olds can LEGALLY bartend/serve alcohol in 48 states.

“Debunking the Drinking Age Argument.” Kiwiblog, 6 May 2012,

This is a crack in the system which seems to be ignored by the public, however it is relevant since it seems to contradict the whole reason why we increased the age in the first place. Only 2 states, Nevada and Utah, have a 21+ bartending/serving policy. Some states do have restrictions on what underage people can do while bartending and serving (such as varying ages or having “adult” supervision), but not all.

Even here, in State College, this policy affects us. Pennsylvania is commended on their strict and harshly enforced alcohol laws. They go through strict measures so underage adolescents struggle to get drinks. They even separate beer and liquor stores to make it more inconvenient, by not allowing you to get both at the same time. However, you only need to be 18 to bartend and serve it. How does this make sense? As an 18 year old, I am forbidden to consume it, but I can work with it. By constantly being around the liquor, it makes it more accessible for these adolescents. Society can try to convince themselves that these liquor bottles are being locked-away from these underage workers once their shift is over, but that’s not always true. Bar managers can’t be everywhere, and when bottles are literally in the hands of teenagers they can easily taken home with them. It would be a utopia if everyone was honest and didn’t steal, but the reality is by having them work so closely with this “illegal” substance, it provides them the perfect opportunity for stealing it.

“What Is The Legal Bartending Age In Each State? ~ Bartending School.” Bartending School, 5 Apr. 2016,

Some may testify this and say, “only a small percentage of these workers actually take the alcohol.” Which can be true, however by being exposed to it, it may desensitize them. Their work environment may make it seem socially acceptable to drink. The people who work in bars, are surrounded by legal-aged drunk people, which makes it seem like alcohol isn’t a problem. Which is the opposite of what the US policy tries to convey to young people. Many educational programs, usually discourage drinking and sometimes use scare tactics. Teenagers are usually told that “drinking is bad”, but when they are submerged in a crowd who seem to be enjoying it, they are getting a different message. They see how liquor can lead to having a good time, instead of seeing the “devastating” effects emphasized in preventative programs.

By sending clashing messages, adolescents will be confused on who to listen to; the government or society. Laws are telling them that alcohol is dangerous and how they shouldn’t partake in consuming it. On the other hand, by seeing people enjoy it, it seems like a fun activity that society is okay with. If these workers, wanted to find out which one of these messages is right, they have the perfect chance to try liquor and test it for themselves. Society shakes their heads at underage drinking, but are grateful when an 18 year old serves them their drink. We need to think about the effects that these policies are having on youth today.