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This Latina Blamed Her Parents For Her Lack Of Education When She Was A Teen, Now She Is Graduating From UC Berkeley And Thanking Them

Alejandra López is getting ready to graduate from University of California, Berkeley and a few weeks she wrote a powerful message on Facebook about the power of family – and the Internet loved it. Next month she will be graduating with a degree in Sociology and Social work and she told mitú that her goals include getting a Ph.D so she can become a professor. López also talked to us about her powerful Facebook post, overcoming her own obstacles, and how she used the perceptions of her family to get to where she is today.

This is Alejandra López, 23, and she is about to graduate from University of California, Berkeley.

Alejandra López / Facebook

López grew up in Huron, Calif., a predominately Latino town of 7,000 people about 3 hours north of Los Angeles. For López, the town she grew up in didn’t really leave her with much hope of obtaining higher education.

“The closest high school was a 45-minute bus ride, so Huron kids had to wake up extra early and get home later just to get a high school education. This was the most impactful experience that solidified my educational goals because in high school I became one of the Huron students in honors and AP classes,” López told mitú. “Going to these classes was hard because I was seen as one of the few “worthy” Huron kids to be in these top performing classes, when my other Huron peers were just as capable of excelling in these classes.”

Her parents are farmworkers and, as the photo below shows, she often goes to the fields to help her parents.

Courtesy of Alejandra López

López admits that when she was younger, she was frustrated with the lack of educational opportunity and it translated into resentment towards her mother.

Courtesy of Alejandra López

“We were always poor and I knew that my ticket out of all of this was education, so in a sense studying became my escape,” López explained to mitú about her longing for an education. “In those moments, I let anger and frustration out on my mom by telling her, “voy ir a la universidad porque no quiero ser mensa como tu toda mi vida,” [I’m going to university because I don’t want to be dumb like you all of my life] because I thought that she purposefully didn’t want to pursue an education. Later I learned that she only received a 3rd grade education in Mexico and had to stop because her family didn’t have the funds to continue sending her to school. Part of my lashing out was frustration and the other half was that I just didn’t really take the time to get to know my mom beyond the mom title until I started to look at higher education as an option.”

Yet, despite her own perceived block from higher education, López excelled and eventually made it to UC Berkeley. She does admit her parents always encouraged college even if her teenage self thought they didn’t.

Courtesy of Alejandra López

“My parents always emphasized education. They would always tell me, “Tienes que estudiar para no trabajar en el fil como nosotros. [You have to study so you don’t work on the fields like we do.]” That always made sense to me, but it never felt comfortable because I didn’t see anything wrong with being a farmworker,”  López told mitú. “I just knew that they wanted to see me in a career that didn’t require backbreaking work, so the idea of going to college was always there.”

For López, it was a no-brainer to include her parents in her graduation photos because this is their accomplishment too.

graduation picture because my family and i are graduating from UC Berkeley. some would say it’s the #1 public…

Posted by Alejandra López on Saturday, April 22, 2017


She credits her family and their unwavering support in love as giving her the inspiration and encouragement to make it through the process of applying, selecting, and ultimately attending college. Though she does think that her parents don’t understand the full impact of going to a school like UC Berkeley.

As for how she sees her mom, well, that has totally changed.

Alejandra López / Facebook

“I am so proud of my mami,” López exclaimed to mitú. “My mom struggled with letting me go to UC Berkeley because I am the baby of the family, but I think that by supporting my goals she gave herself room to figure out her role in life outside of mami. When I left, I bought her a book (I think it was ‘Los Cuatro Acuerdos’ by Don Miguel Ruiz) and after that, she was hooked. She LOVES to read now and it’s been so beautiful to see her grow. She has been right by my side learning with me as well as teaching me of the things she reads, and vice versa.”

“Gracias, sin su apoyo I wouldn’t have been able to graduate,” López told mitú about what she tells her family about graduating college.

Courtesy of Alejandra López

She continued: “And thank you for teaching me the importance of familia and comunidad, which have guided me outside our home. Los amo!”


READ: From the Fields to UCLA: This Success Story Will Motivate You to Chase Your Dreams

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Indigenous Purépecha Woman Gets Full Ride Scholarship To Attend Harvard

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Indigenous Purépecha Woman Gets Full Ride Scholarship To Attend Harvard

In just a few months, college freshmen will be descending on their campuses across the country. One of these students is Elizabeth Esteban who is the first person from her indigenous tribe in Mexico to be accepted to an Ivy League school.

Elizabeth Esteban is going to Harvard and it is a major deal.

Esteban is a member of the Purépecha tribe, an indigenous community from Michoacán, Mexico. Esteban is the first member of her tribe to be accepted into an Ivy League university, where indigenous representation remains small. Esteban’s parents work as farm laborers in the eastern Coachella Valley in California.

“Well I felt proud and excited, every sort of emotion because I never would have believed that a person like me, would be accepted to a prestigious university,” Esteban told NBC News.

Not only was Esteban accepted into Harvard, a prestigious university, she also received a full-ride scholarship. Esteban’s family is part of a community of hundreds of Purépecha people who relocated to the easter Coachella Valley in search of work and a better life.

Esteban plans to study political science.

Dr. Ruiz Speaks with State of the Union Guest, Elizabeth from Desert Mirage High School.

Join me for a live conversation with my guest for tonight's State of the Union, Elizabeth from Desert Mirage High School!

Posted by Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Esteban wants to make a difference in her community. As an indigenous woman, Esteban wants to break barriers that are set on women in her community. She told NBC News that her community expects for women to stay home and be stay-at-home mothers.

The incoming Harvard freshmen was discouraged from applying to Harvard at one point because of her community’s unreliable internet connection. Esteban lives in a mobile home with her family in Mecca and struggled to complete course work. The internet went down in the middle of her Harvard interview and it almost prevented her from applying to the university.

“Well, I felt proud and excited, every sort of emotion because I never would have believed that a person like me, would be accepted to a prestigious university,” Esteban told NBC News about being accepted to Harvard on a full scholarship.

READ: California, Harvard, MIT File Lawsuits To Challenge Government’s International Student Visa Announcement

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For The First Time In History, Latinos Make Up The Largest Group Of University Of California System’s Freshman Class— It’s Not Enough

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For The First Time In History, Latinos Make Up The Largest Group Of University Of California System’s Freshman Class— It’s Not Enough

Updated August 13, 2020.

For the first time, Latinos make up a majority of students accepted into the University of California system. California is home to a very large Latino population and these incoming freshman class is being celebrated as representing California.

For the first time in its history, the University of California system admitted a class of majority Latino students.

According to data about admissions, Latinos represent 36 percent of the 79,953 students accepted to the UC system. Asian-Americans represent 35 percent of the new freshman class. Meanwhile, white people made up 21 percent, African-Americans made up 5 percent, and American Indian/Pacific Islander made up 0 percent. Three percent of students chose not to reveal their race or ethnicity.

Audrey Dow, senior vice president of the policy and advocacy organization Campaign for College Opportunity, spoke to The New York Times about the progress and said that while these shifts are momentous, they’re not enough. “But 36 percent of admits is far under proportional representation,” she told NYT in an email. According to the paper, proportional representation would be much closer to having 50 percent of students be Latino considering that more than half of high school graduates in California are Latino.

“This has been an incredibly challenging time as many students have been making their college decision in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement. “UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students as we seek to educate a diverse student body of future leaders. The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us.”

The university system recently did away with SAT/ACT requirements.

Some think that the university system eliminating the SAT/ACT requirements explains part of the uptick in Latino students. In May, the UC system announced that students would not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission.

The standardized tests have long been accused of preventing minority and disadvantaged students from attending college.

The Compton Unified School District filed a lawsuit against the UC system in late 2019. The lawsuit, filed by four students and six community organizers, points out the racial bias of the tests that block disadvantaged and minority students from being admitted to college.

READ: In-Person Courses Have Been Canceled As Well As Recreational Activities, Now Students Are Protesting To Cancel SAT Exams Due To Coronavirus

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