Things That Matter

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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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Things That Matter

California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Brent Stirton / Getty Images

The world is racing to vaccinate everyone to put a stop to the relentless Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., states and counties are rolling out their own plans based on suggestions from health experts. California, home to the largest population of farmworkers, is making them a priority.

California has laid out their vaccination plan and farmworkers are being prioritized.

California is facing a relentless Covid-19 surge of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. According to The New York Times, California has the second-highest level of infections per capita in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have died of Covid in California and the vaccination effort has been severely lagging.

California’s vaccination plan has been criticized for its very slow roll out.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 816,000 doses of the virus have been given to residents. There have been more than 2 million vaccine doses shipped to California. Currently, California, the most populated state in the country, is still in Phase 1A. Phase 1A is for healthcare workers and long-term care residents. The Vaccinate All 58 campaign claims that there are 3 million people in California in Phase 1A. Almost 40 million people live in California.

Activists have been calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to make sure that farmworkers are prioritized.

California is home to the largest concentration of farmworkers in the U.S. The Center for Farmworker Families claims that 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, or about 1/3 to 1/2 of the farmworker populations, live in California. Seventy-five percent of farmworkers in California are undocumented.

As the rest of the state was able to shelter in place, farmworkers did not stop working. They provided a necessary lifeline to the nation in keeping the food supply running. Farmworkers are more likely to contract Covid because of their living conditions. Studies show that the low wages that farmworkers are paid means that many live in crowded conditions.

READ: As The U.S. Rolls Out The COVID-19 Vaccine, What’s The Future Of Vaccine Access In Latin America?

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Gavin Newsom Appoints Alex Padilla To Kamala Harris’ Vacant Senate Seat

Things That Matter

Gavin Newsom Appoints Alex Padilla To Kamala Harris’ Vacant Senate Seat

Credit: DNCC via Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is leaving behind a Senate seat representing California. Gov. Gavin Newsom was under pressure to appoint a person of color and he is coming through. Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State of California, will be filling the seat.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed the first Latino senator from California.

Alex Padilla has a spent more than a decade serving the people in California from Los Angeles City Council president to California Senate to secretary of state. Padilla was the favorite to take the seat and gives Southern California rare representation in the United States Senate. As Secretary of State of California, Padilla stood against President Trump and refused to turn over voter data to the administration in 2017.

Padilla was raised by hard working immigrants.

Padilla’s mother and father emigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles individually and eventually met and married. As a shortline cook and a housekeeper, Padilla’s parents instilled in him the value of hard work.

“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “He will be a Senator for all Californians.”

Padilla is going to the Senate keep fighting for the values he has defended.

As the country gets ready for a Biden administration, there is a lot of attention on the recovery effort. The Biden administration is going to be tasked with bringing the country back from the brink. Covid has wrecked the economy and upended the lives of millions of families. Biden and the current Senate and House will be responsible for distributing the vaccine and getting the American people back to where they were before the virus devastated the nation.

Congratulations, Sen. Alex Padilla.

California is happy to know that you will be representing us in the Senate.

READ: Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

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