Office of Inclusive Excellence

Introduction: Latinx Solidarity Edition of Diverse Perspectives

September 3, 2023

By Kenny García and María Villaseñor, Co-Editors

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, solidarity is “unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on a community of interests, objectives, and standards”. Along with solidarity, there is a need to reflect on what it means to be an ally in solidarity efforts. Allyship needs to be an active support system; allies need to be in community with the folks they are in solidarity with and work alongside each other rather than being told what to do. This is a call to be an accomplice rather than an ally. It’s important to be brave in action, be willing to ask questions and make critiques, step up and not wait for others to speak up. Some actions will be uncomfortable, but it’s important to speak up. As we experience being uncomfortable, acts of solidarity can also be a site of comradery, true friendship, and genuine joy.

As we reflect on Latinx solidarity, we recognize the multiplicity and intersectionality of Latinx identities. We dedicate this issue to reflecting on growing our solidarity with folks from other racial, ethnic, and indigenous groups, as well as with LGBTQ+ folks, differently abled folks and recognize, too, the potential for tremendous overlap between these communities. That is, none of these identity categories is inherently mutually exclusive as people inhabit so many complex social realities within their lives. We know, too, that “Latinx” itself is a term that at its best, is an articulation of solidarity between people with origins or heritage in different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, and at its worst, can be viewed as a homogenizing, colonialist term that erases the complexity of race including the history of anti-Blackness in the Americas as well as the history and present of colonialism, genocide, and the erasure of indigenous peoples. In exploring the theme of Latinx Solidarity, we recognize that “Latinxs” ourselves are not a monolith, that there is heterogeneity within our ethnic and racialized communities, and that this needs to be recognized and accounted for. 

Moving from solidarity as an abstraction to enacting it in our day to day lives requires our intention, and also our ability to recognize when and how we might practice it in the communities of which we are a part. One critical way that we can practice solidarity is through making space for others to speak, amplifying the voices of members of our community who may not always be heard. In the community agreements we sometimes share or generate in meetings, we might hear the phrase “pass the mike,” calling on us to give up some of the time and space that we might take up in voicing our own views and experiences in order to give someone else the opportunity to share their own. In this spirit, we are dedicating this issue of Diverse Perspectives to CSUMB students (with a couple of alumni included for good measure!), departing from our practice of centering the voices of faculty and staff. 

The students and alumni who are the featured writers in this issue interpreted the theme of Latinx solidarity in a variety of ways, and we see our inclusion of a broad range of articles as itself an act of solidarity with the students. We are honored to include articles from students in María Villaseñor’s spring 2023 Introduction to Chicanx Studies course, as well as a student who is a part of the inaugural Latinx Student Success Research Cohort, an undergraduate research group being led by María Villaseñor and Suzanne García-Mateus. In addition, the contributors to this issue from El Centro / Center for Latinx Student Success are inaugural student coordinators that are envisioning and laying the foundation for what Centro will be. The formation of El Centro / Center for Latinx Student Success can be a site of solidarity and stands on the shoulders of the formation and development of the Helen Rucker Center for Black Excellence. El Centro needs to be in solidarity with the Helen Rucker Center and act as an accomplice in supporting Black students at CSUMB. Both of these centers have a material need for physical space and resources. The answer is not to pit centers against each other, but to work in coalition. What if there was a physical space for affinity-based centers? There are shared interests that everyone can work on for the good of all students while advocating for interests that are unique to specific student populations. 

Let’s continue to work together to challenge systems of oppression and act as accomplices in this work. Let’s continue to create brave spaces and speak up when needed. Let’s continue to transform our communities to be sites of comradery, true friendship, and genuine joy in the name of peace and justice. Let’s be active participants in creating intergenerational solidarity movements. Si se puede! Si se pudo!