We started this trip armed with knowledge, feeling empowered, and ready to meet the legends of the Chicano Movement from our books. It isn’t every day that you get to meet people that were a part of history in a big way, especially those who have been erased from “American” history textbooks. We got to meet heroes that some Chicanos or Mexican-Americans don’t even know that they have, like Mario Compean, Severita Lara, and Rosie Castro. We are a group of students dedicated to change, taking a journey to explore justice of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. and in Texas. The realization that these heroes will not be around forever, I think that was the hardest part of this trip. There are new generations of Mexican Americans who don’t even know the people who made the change for them.
The Justice Journey was a trip that was thought-provoking, empowering, and emotional. You walk in thinking that these texts have inspired you, but you end this trip realizing that meeting the people who help mold and shape our history are being forgotten. When we were on this trip, I felt like they were passing on the torch. They dusted off the platform, they told us their stories, and now it is our turn to take that torch and continue the work that they have done for us. We are the next one to create Chicano history and evolve it into what we stand for today’s in society. This journey has prepared us to take action in our communities, and now that we have this energy we can take that torch and reintroduce it to our community through our class internships.
Annette Kirk, CRES Major
This semester, I spent my Spring Break a bit different than most students. Last week, I had the privilege of being able to attend the TCU Justice Journey with my Latino/a Civil Rights class. For weeks we prepared for the trip by reading about the Chicano Movement and the current struggles that the Latino/a communities are facing today. We travelled throughout South Texas, stopping at the capital, San Antonio, Crystal City, and the Bordertown of Hidalgo. We got to hear from living legends about their fight for justice during the 60s and 70s, ranging from the students of the 1969 Crystal City Walkouts (Severita Lara, Diana Palacios) to one of the founders of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO), Mario Compean. Meeting the people we got to read about was surreal, but it was those we didn’t read about that made the most impact on me.
After hearing the testimonials and grievances of many community members, it was clear to me that there’s much more work to be done. This trip not only fueled the fire even more for me, but it gave me faces to remember during the times I may feel disheartened. Meeting with women such as Letty, who told us her story of the challenges she had to face when coming to the U.S., is a life changing experience. It gives you a different outlook on the world and challenges the way the media and government portray undocumented immigrants today. The Justice Journey not only allowed me to see and hear people that looked like me, but it gave me more of a reason to keep the fire going.
Danny Ramos, CRES Major