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El Weekender

No 88

Will Arlington School Trustees and Superintendent
Stand for DACA?

By Luis C. Castillo

In early September, President Donald Trump announced that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program aimed at youths who were brought to the United States illegally as children would come to an end in six months.  But President Trump also urged Congress to come up with a permanent replacement. 

Last month the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) Board of Trustees voted 8-0 in favor of a resolution supporting the DACA program.  The school Board’s action came days after the district’s Superintendent Kent Scribner used social media to defend undocumented students who are pursuing an education through the expiring DACA program.  Superintendent Scribner and FWISD’s Board of Trustees are to be commended for their bold and compassion leadership.  

The fact that Superintendent Scribner took the initiative on this all too important policy issue speaks volumes of the caliber of his character.  It is worth noting what Scribner posted on Facebook.  (DACA’s expiration) “would have a devastating effect on members of the Fort Worth ISD family”.  “Current high school seniors who have college within reach could be forced to alter their post-secondary plans. Our graduates currently in college may not be able to successfully move their lives forward.  The impact this decision will have on many students and their families in the Fort Worth ISD community will be far-reaching.”

The majority of Fort Worth’s school district students – 86,000 - are listed as Hispanic, according to state data.

Meanwhile here in Arlington where Hispanic students comprise the largest ethnic group, School Board Trustees and the Superintendent sentiments on DACA are much less enthusiastic and maybe more on the pitiful side. 

Shortly after Fort Worth’s Board of Trustees resolution on DACA became public, this writer emailed Arlington school district Superintendent Dr. Cavazos and Board of Trustee Justin Chapa both Hispanics.    (The latter was recently appointed by the Board of Trustees to serve the remaining term of Trustee Jaime Sullins who resigned her post.)   A link to the Star-Telegram’s news story regarding Fort Worth’s school trustees’ resolution was included on the short email.   Dr. Cavazos and Trustee Chapa were pointedly asked, “Will either of you or both of you take the leadership initiative to pursue a similar action for AISD?”  That was three weeks ago and as of this writing no response or indication thereof has been demonstrated that a DACA show-of-support resolution is in the making.

Given the history of the Arlington School Board one can rest assured that the school district always sieges the opportunity to illustrate to the Latino community that the Board of Trustees are the oppressors and that Latinos opinions, concerns, or issues don't matter.  It would be a miracle if Arlington’s school district Superintendent and Trustees undertake the bold action as that of the Fort Worth school board.  Don’t wait for any miracles any time soon.



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The Legacy of Our Seniors

by Linda Carrasco

The young woman commented that she disliked that her mother-in-law came by the house so often and most of the time she dropped by when it was not “a good time” for her. The other young woman added that she was glad that her mother-in-law lived so far away that she could not visit very often. What the discussion revealed is that the mother-in-laws wanted to see their grandchildren but the young mothers seemed to think that at any time…it was not a “good time” for them to visit.

It is such a sad affair when grandparents are not allowed to visit or be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. Children and young people lose out on the “treasure” that “old” people have accumulated over the span of their life...their experiences, their wisdom, the stories that reveal elements of our culture and family that could be shared with the younger generation.

It shouldn’t be like that. “Old” people have a legacy that should be shared with their families.

Stories from the past can encourage, are a source of pride, and can even be a source of laughter. The stories, the sayings, and the idioms can reveal the marvelous legacy of our culture.

One of the stories that I told my children, was the story of my mother-in-law. It is an interesting and unique element of our background. She told me the story and had she not told it to me I would not have been able to share it with my children and grandchildren.

My mother in law was one of sixteen children born to her parents. Three of the children died in childhood. My mother in law was the only one in her family that was a United States citizen. Her other siblings and her parents were born in Mexico.

My mother in law was born during Pancho Villa’s time. The rumors were that if Pancho Villa and his followers came into the village, they would take what they wanted and women would be raped. The people of Tierras Nuevas and the surrounding villages were afraid when he was rumored to be nearing their homes.

The day she was to be born, her father took his wife, nearing time of delivery, and his children, and they crossed the Rio Bravo to escape Pancho Villa. They made it as far as the hills near the bank of the river, on the United States side. The best they could do was place a blanket on the opening of a small cave. The expectant mother now in labor, laid in that cave, and that is where my mother-in-law was born, on United States soil.

My mother in law was noble, intelligent, grateful, and a woman of many talents. She did not have a formal education but she learned how to read and write Spanish. She was a wonderful storyteller. I loved to listen to her, especially when she told stories that revealed details about our culture.

I want my grandchildren to get to know her through stories that I tell about her, especially during the times when I prepared a dish that she taught me how to cook. It is part of the legacy that she left.

Old people have something very valuable to contribute and that is how we preserve the beauty of our culture.  I say to the older generation, “Do not become discouraged.” Share your stories about your family and your past so that the young people will not forget where you came from and so that they can see that you have a “treasure” to share.

To the young people I say, “Take the time.” Take time to listen and appreciate what “old” people have in their “treasure trove” of valuable stories and experiences.



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