Friday, May 20, 2022

Xicano students request more university recognition

February 1, 2001

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February marks Xicano History Month at MSU, and some students say the heritage celebration’s coincidence with Black History Month is bad timing.

“The university has not done a good job with recognizing Xicano History Month,” said David Khilji, a political science senior. “Why else would they decide to put it during Black History Month? If they really wanted to recognize Xicano History Month, they would have separated them.”

But several events will highlight this year’s Xicano heritage celebration, sponsored by MSU’s Xicano student group Movimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlan, Culturas de las Razas Unidas, the Office of Supportive Services and the Office of Minority Student Affairs.

Khilji is one of several MSU students involved with the creation of the new Xicano Development Center, 800 W. Willow St. in Lansing, which will open Feb. 9 as part of the celebration. He said it’s important to recognize Xicano history at MSU.

“I think it brings awareness to people who tend to go through their daily activities without considering other people’s cultures,” he said.

While some students may be more accustomed to seeing the word Chicano, Khilji said part of recognizing Xicano history comes in the spelling of the name

“Ch is the colonized spelling,” he said. “The X is the indigenous spelling. It was outlawed by the Spaniards who oppressed the people of present-day Mexico, which includes the southwest states.”

And the university can better recognize Xicano History month by creating a Xicano Studies degree program and keeping the Julian Samora Research Institute open to students, Khilji said.

A reception for the MSU College Assistance Migrant Program or CAMP will kick off Xicano History Month events at 4 p.m. today in S-28 Wonders Hall. The program recruits about 60 migrant workers a year and bolsters retention rates by providing support systems for students.

Students and community members will commemorate the end of a 25-year boycott of table grapes called by United Farm Workers of America. MEXA participated in the boycott, urging the university to ban non-union grapes in residence hall cafeterias, and creating several protests, including smashing the fruit on MSU President M. Peter McPherson’s desk in 1994.

Also occurring during the month are the Xicano/Latino Power Rally; El Dia de la Mujer and Latin Explosion, a celebration of Latino cultures to take place at the Auditorium.

For more information about Xicano History Month events, call 353-7745, or e-mail cafetzin@hotmail.com.

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