Elections bring hope to Elans

By Vanessa Lopez

President Barack Obama was re-elected, Proposition 30 was passed and the spirit of hope and the reward of hard work will continue to benefit the students at East Los Angeles College.

Hope is such a powerful word. Believe it or not, its power has run through this college for many years.

My grandfather told me about when he was a student here in the early 1960s.  He said he saw President John F. Kennedy (then a Senator) speak at the East Los Angeles College’s stadium. I realized that the message of hope and the notion that hard work pays off has been here since then. “Year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,” Kennedy said.

Hope is, and has been, a word I find all too familiar. “You have to have hope,” said my grandfather. As he continues to preach the value of hard work, he tells me a story of when he first started at ELAC.

He said he was in line to register for classes, and in line were students who, just like him, did not speak English. He ended up dropping out, choosing to party with his friends instead.

The following year, he gave it another shot, and got back in that registration line. While in line, he recognized a woman who was in line with him the year before. However, this time she spoke perfect English. “It got me thinking, look at how far I could have been had I not dropped out. Never give up,” he said. “No matter how hard it gets, have the hope that things will get better,” he said.

With this election still fresh in our thoughts, it reminds me more and more that hope, was and has been, a prominent fixture throughout both President Obama’s presidential campaigns. His beliefs in the future of our students are what will continue to help us grow as a country. As a matter of fact, Senator Ted Kennedy spoke to ELAC students in 2008, while campaigning for Obama. He called him a man of empathy, a man of heart and a man of soul.

The passing of Proposition 30 had many teachers and students, including me, relieved that the planned cuts will no longer take place. Now that the elections are over, we will no longer hear the preaching or see the ads that never seemed to stop running on the television. We can continue to put hard work into our educations with a little more of a cushion. Although more must be done, this is a good start.

After listening to my grandfather’s experiences at ELAC, researching the great men that have spoken to the students here, past and present, I start to realize most of us ELAC students come from humble beginnings, just like our president. And it’s remarkable that it can all start by an emotion called hope.


This article has 1 Comment

  1. As a former editor and reporter for C.N., I have sen the headaches and panaceas that was brought upon ELAC. I support C.N. and as you have mentioned in your story, have seen hope either come to fruition or fade into the ether. But one thing that hope brought was action.

    I became a journalist because I was coaxed by Jean to do so…actually, it was an ultimatum…either join staff or leave the classroom. So I joined staff. It was fun actually and I learned to splel kurrectlee…but I digress. Yet writing for C.N. eventually led to a project my partner and I are currently working on and my journalism skills helps.

    But as a journalist, you are merely the voice-piece to the masses. It is up to the masses to do the hard work. Yes prop 30 was a great move and a great bet that Governor Jerry Brown took. Yet even if the law was passed, it is up to us make sure that hope is fulfilled.

    How so? By making sure that every penny spent is used appropriately. There are members of the senate and assembly as well as city council who are claiming to fulfill the will of the voters by making sure that the prop 30 money will be used for classrooms and not bureaucratic shenanigans. That there is a false statement, because if that occurred, people would be arrested.

    Yet shenanigans can happen and it is perfectly legal. There was a volunteer for a person running for City Council who visited my parents’ home. I was listening to what the volunteer was saying and agreed to a lot of the idea the council-member-elected wanted. Funding Phys ed classes and the arts.

    What made me perk my ears was the creation of 30 charter schools. Charter schools according to the volunteer would allow smaller classrooms and a better student/teacher ratio. And when the speech was done, the volunteer asked: would you vote for so and so. I said I would wait. Why? Because of the person’s desires to create charter schools.

    The volunteer knew nothing about charter schools and did not know that in the Los Angeles Unified School District, charter school work off a different guidelines but are funded by taxpayer money. The volunteer then asked that if I liked smaller class size? I said yes I do, but then I asked instead of charter schools, why not build more schools and reduce class size?

    I asked the volunteer if he knew who ran charter schools? He said no, then I said Microsoft for one. You know what that was called 70 years ago? He said no. I then said fascism. I then told him to Google Franco of Spain. I then asked if from the goodness of the heart Microsoft’s nonprofit wing of their corporation why would they then want a tax break? Every donation Microsoft make, they get back a larger refund. They have the tax breaks already as a corporation, and they pay less in taxes for usage of the commons and receive a fatter refund.

    Microsoft benefits from the tax break and we have to pay them extra for their investment? I then asked, so why not build more schools? At least the taxes we pay to pay for the school and to maintain and pay teachers and staff is returned back to the local area.

    Hope is important and a vital part of our lives. But it takes the students to voice their opinions to make sure that none of the taxes you pay goes to the pockets of corporations, but back into the commons. Student pays taxes? You heard of:

    Property taxes (paying rent)
    Sales Tax
    Gas tax
    Phone tax
    Water Tax

    You pay and the commons benefit. Make that hope come true by educating yourself in school and life, and don’t be a victim of some sly politician whose only goal is to capitalize off your labor…

    P.S.: Undocumented workers pay taxes too.

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