BC hosts LUPE organization for a virtual panel on “achieving the dream”

Razan Makhlouf, Reporter

Bakersfield College Latinas Unidos hosted a virtual panel called “Achieving the Dream: Equity and Higher Education from Students’ Perspectives: A Latinos Unidos Por Educación (LUPE) Student Organization Panel” on March 24. 

The Latinos Unidos Por Educación (LUPE) is an organization led by students. It provides services to undocumented, and DACA BC students. According to Edith Mata, the president of the LUPE organization “LUPE has empowered me as a student, as a leader, activist, and it has also allowed me to continue my educational pathway,”  

The panel is a part of the Jess Nieto Memorial Conference and it featured students from LUPE. It was led by Edith Mata, the president of the LUPE organization.  

The panel started by Mata asking students to introduce themselves; they were Jasmine Herrera, Elizabeth Garcia, Rafael Dela Mora, Erick Jared Plata, Elizabeth Arevalo, and Professor Manuel Rosas, who gave a brief PowerPoint presentation to highlight the students’ accomplishments and what they have done. 

First, the panelists were asked about what made them want to be a part of Latinos Unidos Por Educación. 

“It was because I wanted to be involved in on-campus student organizations, and without knowing anyone, everyone was so welcoming. They treated me like family. Now I am the Vice President of the student organization. Latinos Unidos Por Educación is a life changing experience,” Herrera explained.  

“It was recommended to me by Mr. Manuel Rosas when I was registering for my classes. He said that it was a community for us Hispanics. It was amazing. They do not make you feel like you are an outcast. Like, Jasmine said, they treat you like family,” Garcia said.  

“Manuel Rosas told me about it. People like him inspire us to continue to pursue higher education, and follow our dreams,” Dela Mora said.  

Then, the panelists were asked about what made post-secondary education important to them. 

Our parents migrated over here to give us a better life. I feel like in a way I owe it to myself and them to be better than they were. My parents did not even make it to middle school. So, it is just like me trying to pay them back with that,” Garcia said.  

“I want to give back to my mother who has sacrificed so much for me. She has seen my struggles and can relate to them. I also want to give back to the community members who have helped me and inspired me to be who I am. I never thought I would get to this point, one more year, and I’ll be getting my bachelor’s,” Plata said.  

“I want to pay back all of my parents sacrifices and be the role model to my siblings. Education, nowadays, is the key to success,” Herrera said.  

The panelists were also asked to explain how Latinos Unidos Por Educación impacted and helped them pursue public education. 

“If it wasn’t for Latinos Unidos Por Educación. I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Plata said. 

“Latinos Unidos Por Educación has impacted me in a positive way. It has helped me build confidence by providing opportunities that help me build my resume, and has helped me gain work experience,” Arevalo said.  

“Something that I liked about Latinos Unidos Por Educación was all of the networking and the resources that Manuel Rosas and other students are able to bring to the meetings, organizations that I never heard of before coming,” Garcis said.