After a week of receiving emails from frightened Latina students who are afraid for themselves and their families because of the new president-elect, Marcos McPeek-Villatoro, decided to write a letter to his students. He expressed his opinions about the new age of Trump and encouraged them to continue their education.
“I’m tired of my fellow Latinos living in constant, unmitigated fear of the injustices waiting for them in the near future. We need to speak up, loud and clear, against the racism that’s made people of color, once again, the victims of pure hate,” Villatoro said.
He presented his letters in class, in Spanish and English, on Tuesday, Nov 15. Not only does he want to bring this issue to students’ attention, but also the faculty and staff members to come together as a community to create change fearlessly.
Students recorded his speech on their phones to share on their social media. “Professor Villatoro’s speech helped me feel safer as a Latina following the election results. Also, as a current activist, he reestablished the reasoning why I am fighting and assured I had a voice.” Alejandra Matheu-Rios, a freshman at Mount Saint Mary’s said.
Most importantly, he encouraged students to continue their education. “You need to read books–the important books. You need to become way more literate and analytical than the uneducated ignorant crude people who have turned on you.”
Mount Saint Mary’s was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and their commitment to “serve all persons without distinction, respond to the needs of the times, and prepare fearless visionaries for a just future.” Villatoro reminded students that the university is a great place for them to use their voices to be heard.
Part of the school’s mission is to educate their students, mainly women, with superior education and cultivate leaders to help and serve the world.
“We are frightened but we are not cowards.”
Marcos McPeek-Villatoro is an English professor and holds the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair of Writing at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles. He is also the author of 9 books, a 2 time L.A. Emmy Award winner for his commentaries, and has spoken on PBS and National Public Radio. Many of his books and lectures focus on his Latino and Appalachian heritages which greatly influenced his letters.