Brown Issues Visit Sparked by Social Media Poll

Those attending the Brown Issues pop-up circle the Eagle statue to honor the Tongva people and the land that Cal State LA sits on.

Rosio Flores, Staff Reporter

The sound of a Huehuetl drum, an instrument originating from Mesoamerica, filled the air near the Golden Eagle statue on campus. Cal State LA students participated in a pop-up ceremony led by Brown Issues members and students from Anahuacalmecac International Preparatory High School to bring the brown community together.

Enough Cal State LA students voted for the pop-up event to happen on campus through an Instagram poll.

Browns Issues, an organization originating in Sacramento, uses social media to empower brown people, according to Brown Issues College Ambassador Kimberly Gudino. Gudino stated that one of the main reasons why Brown Issues was created is because in South Sacramento, there were a lot of gangs, so Brown Issues hoped to get students in that area to pursue higher education. This falls into the three essential pillars which according to Gudino are: The pursuit of higher education, resisting the patriarchy and ending genocidal practices.  

Laura Cortes Morales, a soon to be Cal State LA graduate and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, connected with the crowd through her struggle.

“For those of you that are DACA [recipients], y’all know how hard it is… to admit to the fact that for years you hid your legal status, cause you know it was ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but we need to tell,” said Morales. “We need to open these dialogues. There is support out there. Together we are one.” 

Elena Salcedo, a member of a Latina-based sorority, had urged her sisters to vote in favor of the pop-up shop. 

Salcedo said it was important to her for the awareness brought by Brown Issues to be showcased. “As women, we should be more involved. All the struggles that we go through…aren’t the same but we do struggle.” 

“The whole idea is to create a space for indigenous people on this campus and just to teach people about indigenous land, the way you carry yourself in indigenous land,” said Alejandro Covarrubias, a Cal State LA Latin American studies professor, who is also affiliated with Brown Issues. He expressed the importance of this since, according to him, Cal State LA was built on native land.

Alejandro Trujillo, the teacher to the Anahuacalmecac students, said that guiding his students towards leadership roles is important. “I think that this is a perfect opportunity for them to just to be able to share…their stories, where they go to school [and] also the work they are doing.”

Through her love of digital organizing, Gudino has helped establish the Brown Issues social media page, which seeks to empower brown people. Like others in the crowd, Gudino shared her struggle with accepting her skin color when she was younger. “Often for myself and friends that I grew up with, we did not like our skin color,” said Gudino, “I specifically hated my skin color, to the point [where] I wanted to bleach my skin color,”

“I see now how the [Brown Issues] page also has a huge role because we are trying to use the power of social media to shape the narrative of our communities, and how we think about ourselves,” Gudino continued. “We’ve been saying this slogan, Brown is beautiful…we want to make sure everyone hears us.”

The event was closed-off by Anahuacalmecac students. Cal State LA students who supported the fundraiser were gifted a butterfly print shirt. The monarch butterfly is used as a symbol by DACA to represent migration. This fundraiser is an effort for Anahuacalmecac students to buy a van they would be able to use as a means of transportation when attending Brown Issues events.

The crowd showed off their shirts for a group video, as they yelled, “Brown is Beautiful,” and ended with, “Cal State LA for Brown Issues.”