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The Mi Gente 2019-2020 Council unanimously decided to endorse Valeria Silombria for Duke Student Government President because of her commitment to engaging with historically underrepresented groups on campus and in the Durham community. We had the opportunity to meet with both candidates, and we believe that she possesses the skills and leadership necessary to bring structural change and equity in the boardroom, such as advocating for a hate speech/hidden bias policy, supporting student activists on campus and expanding abroad options for undocumented students.
Mi Gente is proud to endorse Daisy Almonte for DSG president. Daisy’s passion and commitment to make Duke and DSG more accessible and transparent to the entire student body is compatible with our mission as Duke’s Latinx student association to promote awareness about Latinx cultural, political, educational, and social issues. However, her platform not only amplifies our mission, but also strives to elevate that of the whole student body.
Mi Gente, Duke University’s Latinx student association, is proud to announce the endorsement of Trey Walk for Young Trustee! Mi Gente’s council had the pleasure of listening to all four Young Trustee candidates and after some deliberation, we are confident in Trey being a good candidate for Young Trustee and properly represent Duke’s student body on the Board of Trustees.
On Sunday, March 4, Mi Gente’s Executive Board met with all of the DSG Presidential candidates and listened to their platforms. We believe every candidate possesses the experience and drive needed to excel as DSG President; however, we were particularly impressed by Kristina Smith’s previous achievements. We’re confident her experience and strong vision for what DSG can do for the undergraduate population will translate into effective change.
Mi Gente, Duke University’s Latinx student organization, is pleased to announce the endorsement of Bryce Cracknell for Young Trustee! Mi Gente’s Executive Board had the opportunity to meet with all four Young Trustee finalists this past week. After careful consideration of each candidate, we believe Bryce Cracknell possesses the strong commitment and understanding needed to be successful in representing Duke’s student body on the Board of Trustees.
We are pleased to announce that Mi Gente, Duke’s Latinx student organization, has decided to endorse Steven Soto for Young Trustee! We, the Mi Gente board, had the opportunity to meet with Steven Soto on Sunday and were very impressed by his platform for Young Trustee.
Blue Devils United, Mi Gente, The Duke University Asian Students Association, The Asian American Alliance, The Duke Muslim Students’ Association, Duke Voices for Interfaith Action and Women’s Housing Option are in solidarity with student efforts to stop the relocation of the Women’s Center. We call on University officials to begin a process of working with students to find a mutually agreeable space that will suit the Center's needs.
As recent Latinx alumni of Duke University, we proudly support Mi Gente’s letter to the administration, “Duke without Mi Gente,” and its decision to boycott Latino Student Recruitment Weekend (LSRW). The carefully constructed demands include demands for a cultural center, a comprehensive plan to hire Latinx faculty and administrators, full funding for future recruitment weekends and public acknowledgement and apology for the lack of institutional support for Latinxs on campus. In addition to keeping these enumerated demands at the forefront of conversations between Duke’s administration and Mi Gente, it is also imperative to recognize that the list of demands is not exhaustive but rather the beginning of a series of necessary institutional improvements aimed at promoting the success of Latinx students at Duke.
A response to this letter can be found here.
Mi Gente, Duke’s Latino Student Association, proudly endorses David Robertson for Young Trustee. Of all three candidates, we believe that Robertson has demonstrated the greatest commitment to equity and diversity throughout his time at Duke. Robertson’s involvement in the 1G Network, Common Ground Retreat, and FAC Board highlights his dedication to the Duke student community. Robertson has worked closely with the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, the Women’s Center, CAPS and the Wellness Center- all centers that Mi Gente supports and has established relationships with. Robertson understands the concerns of Mi Gente, such as the need for safe and visible spaces on campus for students to openly discuss their identities in a supportive environment. Understanding the issues students face, Robertson is the perfect liaison between Duke students and the Board of Trustees. Robertson’s previous interactions with the Board of Trustees and administrators provide him with the experience needed to effectively voice the concerns of the student body. We are confident that Robertson will actively and productively improve the Duke community as Young Trustee.
On October 15, the Editorial Board released an article evaluating Mi Gente’s Hispanic Heritage Month events. The assertion that these events were poorly attended and unrepresentative of Duke is simply inaccurate. Employees from the Loop reported sales of $13,000 during Mi Gente’s Latin Night, one of the most successful nights of the semester. Additionally, attendance at our Gender Roles in the Latino Community event at the Women’s Center outnumbered the available seating accommodations. Along with the erroneous information provided, the article makes troublesome recommendations, suggesting that cultural organizations tailor events to attract students that would otherwise be repelled by their preconceived notions of cultural groups. It is not the responsibility of Mi Gente, or any other cultural group for that matter, to cater to those unwilling to enter spaces beyond their comfort zone. We welcome those that recognize the value of going beyond their predominating cultural norms.
September 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month and we, as Mi Gente, Duke’s Undergraduate Latino Association, invite you to take part in the celebration of Latino heritage in the United States.
Mi Gente is offended and shocked at the Program in Education and its PowerPoint presentations that The Chronicle published last week. These presentation slides demonstrate the lack of understanding and respect for Latino communities—especially at Duke and in Durham. The use of sombreros, maracas, cigars and other images of Latino culture were used inappropriately and offensively. Our University often rebukes student organizations for similar acts, but it is even more disappointing and disturbing when these same sentiments come from faculty. This is a clear demonstration of the Program’s ignorance concerning diversity with respect to race.
After meeting with student representatives for and against The 40 Percent Plan, Mi Gente is announcing its opposition against the plan’s negative impacts on the Duke community. As an organization that receives the majority of its funds from the University Cultural Fund and not the Student Organization Funding Committee, Mi Gente still has genuine concerns for student organizations that may not be guaranteed an extensive amount of funding due to low active general body participation. In addition, The 40 Percent Plan has the potential to give additional power to larger groups that historically have had their voice heard on campus while further marginalizing smaller groups who present greater demonstrated need. As a unified minority group, our mission as an organization is to help prevent this from taking place.
After meeting with all three DSG Presidential candidates, Mi Gente would like to announce its endorsement of Lavanya Sunder for Duke Student Government president. Sunder has been a part of DSG for the past two years and has demonstrated the necessary experience we see fit for the position. As the program director for Fix My Campus, Sunder has demonstrated her commitment to all Duke students and their concerns by being accessible on social networks and promoting physical improvements on campus. Her experience in DSG as well as her established relationships and mentorships with the administration give her a solid base for which to begin and carry out her duty as DSG president.
Mi Gente, Duke’s Latino student association, enthusiastically endorses Jacob Tobia for Young Trustee. After meeting with all three candidates, we believe that Tobia would be a powerful addition to the Board of Trustees. Throughout his time at Duke, Tobia has been a vocal activist in realms that Duke had not even conceived of before, including gender-neutral housing, endowment transparency and financial aid assistance for undocumented and international students. We believe that Tobia’s passion for social progress, unique perspective and desire to hear students from different groups on campus will translate to effective and efficient communication between current Duke students and the Board of Trustees.
Vote Sohn for Young Trustee
In order to reach a conclusion on the fate of the millions of immigrants that live in the United States, we must first drop stereotypes and recognize the reality. The generalization made of illegal immigrants in Jeremy Marshall's editorial, "Keep 'Em Out" are problematic and prejudiced. First of all, his assertion that "millions. seek to kill us" is absurd and offensive. We would like to challenge him to produce evidence of the desire of millions of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico who have demonstrated this desire. It would be ridiculous to say that people who see America as the land of opportunity and leave their life and family behind would seek to destroy or harm this country through terrorism. If we are really worried about threats to national security from illegal immigrants, then the United States should create a system of accountability in which illegal immigrants would be legalized. Millions of illegal immigrants directly fuel the economy. It would not only be infeasible to "keep 'em out," but detrimental to the prosperity of our economy. While we respect Marshall's opinion, we challenge those who hold similar perspectives to understand the complexity of the situation and to not see illegal immigrants as a faceless "they" but as your housekeeper, gardener, future congresspeople, teachers and doctors.