Instilling cultural pride in Chicano and Latino students from around Colorado

“…To be here and to be proud of who we are..”

Through July twelfth and eighteenth, The Aquetza: Youth Leadership program took thirty-two Latino and Chicano students from around the state and immersed them in a week long program at CU-Boulder. This marks the third year that CU-Boulder has been hosting the event, which was first envisioned back in the seventies by The Mexican-American Student Association (UMAS). Program directors Jason Romero Jr. and Mike Dominguez revived the summer program as a way to instill cultural pride in Latino and Chicano high school students as well as give them a look and feel into campus life.

Participants from Denver, Boulder, Longmont, Aurora, Cherry Creek, Pueblo, Erie, and Firestone engaged in academic and community-building experiences focusing on the history, literature, health and science and relevant social and political issues surrounding their cultural communities.
Over the three years The Aquetza program has had over seventy students attend the program. “The great thing about the program is that we are seeing the students go back to their high schools and startup or join activist clubs and organizations.”-Mike Dominguez.

Along with academic and community based lessons and exercises the program shows students many sides of activism, such as UMAS and Teatro del Oprimido activities and presentations.