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Volume 14 Issue 1 - Fall 2015

Dr. Quiroz

From the Director

It is my pleasure and my privilege to introduce myself as the incoming Director of CMAS at the University of Houston. Serving as Director is a role that I take seriously, and I want to recognize and thank former Director and Professor Tatcho Mindiola, who has set such a high standard of leadership and accomplishment on behalf of the Mexican American and Latino community. Tatcho’s accomplishments for the Center shall continue to inspire me in my term as Director.

For those of you who know little about me, I am a third-generation Mexican American who was born and raised in the Midwest. I’m the product of working class parents whose own parents moved from Mexico with their families as young children during the Mexican Revolution. My great-grandfathers came to the U.S. by working on the railroads and ended up in Kansas City, Kansas. There they worked in various jobs as an artist, a butcher in a packing house, and a machine operator in a foundry.

Like most Mexican Americans, my family worked hard, believed in God, and loved their children. We laughed often, played together, and shared every weekend and holiday. A less positive experience for my grandparents and my parents was the segregation experienced in Catholic school. In fact, my mother’s experience with schooling was so traumatic that she quit school as soon as she was able. As a parent she was determined that my sister and I would never have these experiences, so we were not taught Spanish and moved to the “best” Catholic school in town. At the beginning of each school year, she instructed the teacher never to lay a hand on either of us. Despite my mother’s efforts and my academic achievement in school, I too experienced ethnic prejudice when my fourth grade teacher brought me up to the front of the classroom and expressed her dislike of “wetbacks” and “greasers.” She also conveyed that in her opinion I thought a little too highly of myself and that she was going to take me down a notch during that year. Needless to say, the year was unpleasant, and though I experienced no corporal punishment, I experienced the pain of social isolation. When I began to avoid going to school and developed an ulcer, the principal moved my desk into her office where I received all of my coursework, though often with little instruction. I was so relieved to be out of the classroom that it never occurred to me to ask why, instead of moving me out of the room, didn’t the principal remove the teacher?...

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