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Discovering Hispanic Heritage at the University of Arizona

Discovering cultures means looking back. A special department at the University of Arizona helps teach students the history behind Hispanic Heritage.
Posted at 6:47 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 09:47:17-04

Discovering cultures means looking back. A special department at the University of Arizona helps teach students the history behind Hispanic Heritage.

"Sit up and take notice. It is perhaps the second largest demographic in the United States in terms of minority populations," said Anna Ochoa O'Leary, Professor and Department Head of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona is talking about the Hispanic population.

"But there are still a lot of not understanding of how we came to be and that history is really important. This population continues to grow," said O'Leary.

The history is key. "Things like the 1982 Plyler vs. Doe that basically allowed children in Texas to attend schools without having to pay tuition simply because they were Mexican immigrant children," said O'Leary.

Now, progress continues in classrooms and universities. "Those spaces were opened through the struggles of a lot of people and those people were activists of the 60s and 70s," said O'Leary.

She goes on to say those activists took to the streets. "Asking authorities to include a history that was relevant to their place and time," said O'Leary.

Those historic moments continue to make a difference and at the University of Arizona, students have a place where they can do this. "We can talk about the movement. We can talk about who we are. Where we've been and where we want to be," said O'Leary.