Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gustavo Arellano on the Arizona Latino

OC Weekly Editor, "Ask a Mexican" Columnist, and Author Gustavo Arellano Hispanic Convocation Speech at Arizona State University

Having earned my PhD at the University of Arizona, I've been indoctrinated into rejecting all things Arizona State; however, I make an exception with Gustavo Arellano's keynote address that he gave at the Hispanic Convocation on the Arizona Latino. Rhetorically, it could be argued that his speech was epideictic fitting the context and audience of the event, though I would point out that what makes Arellano's speech great was that the message isn't said enough to his primary audience of young Latin@s.  Additionally, he makes an important distinction about the narrative spread about Arizona and how Latin@s might be characterized as victims, so it's important that he leaves the graduating class with the message that the "Arizona Latino is a magnificent person."

(Old photo of me with Arellano in 2008)

From his speech:

And, you already have accomplished much. So as you go off to life, remember where you came from, and never be ashamed to tell the world the school that forged you into young men and women--Arizona State University, in the state of Arizona.

Even if this isn't your native state, even if you're leaving after this afternoon to return home, you're now part of this proud tradition. I know the power and potential of Arizona's Latinos because I'm descended from two. My abuelita was born in Metcalf, nowadays a ghost town near the Morenci Mine, while my grandfather arrived there at age four and stayed until his teenage years. Metcalf served as the entry point for hundreds of people from my rancho in Zacatecas during and after the Mexican Revolution. Those pioneers went on to be the parents and abuelos of professors, entrepreneurs, politicians--Latino success stories, all of them. It was in those copper pits that my ancestors learned to fight for a better life, to never take discrimination lightly, and to never forget your roots

And if it was good enough for my ancestors, it should be good enough for everyone else. The Arizona Latino is a magnificent person, and this graduating class is the latest generation to fulfill your raza's destiny. Now, time to proclaim it to the rest of America--tell them what I've just told ustedes, and don't be shy about it. Gracias, and God bless. 

Read the full text here:

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