Nation’s first Chicano Studies program celebrates 50th anniversary

Isaac Gutierrez, Contributing Writer

Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta — who worked alongside Cesar Chavez to build the first farm workers union — inspired many of the students, faculty, staff and community members celebrating Cal State L.A.’s Chicano Studies department earlier this month.

The department is the first of its kind in the country and hosted the community event to celebrate its 50-year anniversary. Alice Bag, a Chicana punk musician, entertained the crowd with music and attendees chowed down on salad, cake and fruit.

Students said they were inspired.

“It was such a fun and inspirational way to kick off the department’s celebration,” said Rachel Ramirez, a Cal State LA sophomore.

William Hernandez, a student at University of La Verne, attended the event because his friend retweeted a flyer posted by Cal State LA’s Twitter page. “I’m super glad I came, not only is the artwork beautiful but it’s nice to see so many people here in support of my culture.”

Huerta gave an inaugural lecture in the Golden Eagle Ballroom, speaking about her work with Chavez in the 1960s and encouraging the audience to keep fighting for changes.

Others spoke at the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery. The gallery was renovated to showcase Chicano pieces of art.

Natalie Ramirez, a Cal State LA grad student, “It was cool that we had our own culture being celebrated. The art and overall celebration of Chicano culture makes me proud of my school.”