By Alexandro Luna
Pulse Staff Reporter
Barbara Jean Ramos, a Mexican-American Studies major and president of the Palo Alto College student organization Somos MAS, accepted the first-ever Premio Estudiante de Atzlan Award for her community service engagement and academic achievements at the National Conference for Chicana and Chicano Studies – Tejas Foco in February.
“It was an honor to be nominated by Mr. Juan Tejeda. I felt humbled to receive the Premio…It gave me reassurance that the work Somos MAS is doing is being validated, and it means something,” said Ramos.
Yuri Perez, a sophomore History major and Somos MAS member, also attended NACCS to witness Ramos accept her award.
“There is nobody more deserving in my opinion…it was an honor to see her recognized for her activist spirit at Foco this year,” said Perez.
NACCS is a statewide conference that preserves the traditions, stories and customs of the Mexican and Mexican-American community. This year’s conference was held in Kingswood, Texas.
Ramos and Somos MAS also represented Palo Alto College in the Cesar Chavez March on Saturday, March 26, from Avenida Guadalupe through downtown. Working with other MAS student organizations throughout San Antonio, the groups wielded their signs of protest in the name of Cesar Chavez, an American farm worker who was a labor leader and Civil Rights activist. After his passing, Chavez became an icon for Latinos and Mexican-Americans to emulate.
Somos MAS is a student organization at PAC that advocates for Mexican-American Studies in higher education.
Arturo Valero, a sophomore Art major and Somos MAS member, said, “All Chicanos/as and Latinos should know who Cesar Chavez was and what he stood for. He is a big part of Chicano history. They marched for a better life; we march to keep the legacy going.”
Fernanda Hernandez, a freshman Mexican-American Studies major and Somos MAS member, stressed the importance of the student group.
“Somos MAS taught me to speak up for what I believe in…We encourage everyone to join. We participate in cultural events and help the community by helping in things like the San Antonio Food Bank.”
Ramos described the influence that MAS has had among her members this past semester as inspiring.
“To be able to witness an awakening of someone’s cultural identity is a wonderful experience. They inspire me to achieve goals and dreams that I never thought possible,” said Ramos.
For more information about Somos MAS, email the club at somosmas12 at gmail dot com, or contact Student Life at PAC.