The University of Maryland needs to support the increase of Latinx studies!

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While attending the University of Maryland, College Park, I have had the chance to learn about my own history. Latin American history is not well-known and is not usually taught in high schools. The university exposed me to my own history and the unique histories of the countries that make up Latin America. As a Salvadorean-American, I have heard stories from my parents, but never fully understood where my ancestors came from. I learned about European-American history, but not the history of the Americas. That all changed when I discovered the USLT (U.S. Latina/o Studies) minor: I was hooked! The minor addresses several issues pertaining to historically recognized U.S. Latina/o subgroups, among them Mexican Americans/Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans, as well as distinct local and regional communities such as Salvadorean Americans, Guatemalan Americans, Colombian Americans, Afro-Latinas/os, and others.

The minor addresses several issues regarding the Latino identity, but it is not enough! There are only a few courses on Afro-Latino studies and not enough courses concerning local and regional communities like Salvadorean Americans. This is extremely problematic because Salvadoreans are the 3rd largest Latino demographic group in the U.S., after Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. The Salvadorean community in the DC Metro Area has the highest concentration of Salvadorans in the U.S. They comprise the largest number of Latinos in the DC Metro Area, estimated at 240,000 and 1 million by Salvadorean Embassy.

The United States’ demographic is shifting, meaning more Latinas/os are searching for an education. Most children are not exposed to their family’s history, but that can change. With the increase in courses, students would have the opportunity to learn about Latin American culture and understand the complexity associated with the heritage. The interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary minor prepares students to understand recent demographic and cultural transformations of Latinx populations in local, regional, and national contexts. I hope to increase USLT courses offered by the University of Maryland and eventually the minor can become a major. As the momentum increases, I urge other universities to offer USLT studies across the East Coast, but that will only happen with your help. With your support, we can strengthen our argument to President Wallace Loh and prove to him that an increase of courses is necessary and vital for our local communities.

The Latinx identity is an ever-transformative cultural field changing, reconfiguring, and responding to the ideological and socio-economic context of the United States. I hope you support and join our campaign! Thank you.