MAS Unidos: Students Pursh for Mexican American Studies in Texas : Tejas Foco 2015 News
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MAS Unidos: Students Pursh for Mexican American Studies in Texas

by Tony Diaz on 03/16/15

MAS Unidos en Tejas/Mexican American Studies in Texas:
A Collective Voice of the Student Body &
Community Organizers in Texas

Activismo * Cultura * Educación

Dear (President name, and institution)

March 16, 2015 This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement which elevated our nation’s consciousness of multiple inequalities experienced by marginalized peoples in U.S. society. MAS Unidos, a student coalition of Mexican American Studies from university campuses along with community organizers across the state of Texas, has formed on behalf of the National Association of Chicana/ Chicano Studies Tejas regional organization to continue voicing and presenting educational concerns from students to the forefront. We are current and future educators, researchers, scholars, and prideful members of our institutions and communities who, like you, are dedicated to the improvement of educational needs that will benefit us and future generations of Texas students. Furthermore, as a student led organization, we are devoted to the improvement of academic standards for Ethnic Studies but more specifically, Mexican American Studies in the state of Texas.

Students choose an educational institution which best serve their individual talents, interests, and intellectual aspirations. It is the responsibility of the institution to provide each student program, and department with the necessary means for success. Higher education serves as an opportunity for students to discover, nurture, and develop their full potential to becoming exemplary members of our society. However, as undergraduate and graduate Hispanic students, it has been a challenge for us to receive an education or history that reflects our presence in well recognized events. Events such as, the Alamo, World War I and II, Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement are all essential parts of the Mexican American Studies which instill great pride in recognizing both national Identities. These Identities influence our lives, family and education, the importance for Hispanics to go against social norms to become educated and be recognized as a leading minority group. Learning about past and present, social and political movements intended to equate the opportunity for Hispanics in the US. Today in Texas, Mexican American Studies programs are at a constant risk of underfunding, caused by lack of department status, lack of faculty resources to successfully teach courses, which forces them to teach outside the program as affiliated professors, furthermore forces professors to run programs like a department without the benefits of the status.

Moreover, the educational concern that MAS Unidos presents to you, [name] and [name of institution] are the academic development and financial support of a Mexican American Studies Department. MAS Unidos understands the importance of providing a well-rounded curriculum that highlights a variety of academic disciplines for students to select according to their intellectual interests. Additionally, it is of crucial importance that the curriculum reflects that of the changing demographics of the United States population, with Latina/os now making up the majority in Texas public schools. MAS Unidos does acknowledge the need for Mexican American Studies departments in the state of Texas. As of 2013 the Hispanic student population represents 50.2% of the total student population in Texas (Huffington Post). Each year more Hispanic students are enrolling in Texas colleges and universities but an insufficient number of Mexican American programs and departments do not reflect these numbers. The development of a Mexican American Studies Department intends on bridging the achievement gap for Hispanic students at the college level, providing them the opportunity to learn about their culture, history and contributions to the making of Texas and U.S. history. MAS Unidos humbly encourages your school to implement a Mexican American Studies Department; if there is an already existing program, minor and/ or major we, as students and community advocates, urge for department status.

As a team we can work to not merely improve our schools but truly enhance the opportunity for all students, bridge the experiences of students and our communities/society, and build the foundation of our future today. MAS Unidos hopes these efforts will increase the opportunity for Ethnic Studies to flourish in the state of Texas and build academic spaces between community members, students, educators, and administrators. In light of the racial controversies surrounding other academic institutions the impact of your actions and support for Mexican American Studies will allow more students to become accepted and educated in academic spaces that lack these discussions. Sincerely, -MAS Unidos

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