La Prensa Libre

14th annual LULAC Gala raises money for scholarships

14th annual LULAC Gala raises money for scholarships

octubre 22
20:00 2015
Fotos de José López Bribiesca/La Prensa Libre Jóvenes becados posan previo a la 14ª gala de LULAC el sábado 17 de octubre en en el Centro de Convenciones del Holiday Inn de Springdale.

Photos by José López Bribiesca/La Prensa Libre
Scholarship recipients pose prior to the 14th annual LULAC Gala Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale.

José López Bribiesca

SPRINGDALE — For Félix Yáñez, the dream of becoming a pharmacist was simply that — a dream.

“Coming from a low-income family, the simple thought of attending a four-year institution made me nervous. I knew there would be no way for my parents to cover all of my college costs,” Yáñez said. “For a while I even considered just attending a technical school.”

Al “Papa Rap” López pone a bailar a todos los que asistieron a la gala.

Al “Papa Rap” López, left, makes everyone dance at the gala.

But the Green Forest native is now on his way to fulfilling his dream as a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, he said in big part thanks to the financial assistance he received from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Yáñez expressed his gratitude for his scholarship Saturday, Oct. 17 at the 14th annual LULAC NWA Council 754 gala.

Charles F. Robinson, vicerrector de diversidad en la Universidad de Arkansas, da el discurso principal de la noche.

Charles F. Robinson, vice chancellor for diversity at the University of Arkansas, gives the keynote speech for the evening.

The event took place at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale and it hosted leaders in business, government and education from the Northwest Arkansas community.

About 16 scholarship recipients attended the event, along with former teachers and mentors.

The president of LULAC’s local chapter said many of them are from the two cities with the largest Latino populations — Springdale and Rogers.

“I’m really proud that they’re here to see what their students are doing and where their students are going,” said Rey Hernández, president of the local LULAC council.

The speaker of honor for the night was Charles F. Robinson, vicechancellor for diversity at the University of Arkansas and award-winning professor of history.

Speaking to mostly immigrants or children of immigrants, Robinson stressed that American history has been wrought with xenophobia and reluctance to give educational and economic opportunities to people of color.

This legacy continues today with young immigrants who, despite being brought to the U.S. illegally and facing enormous financial roadblocks, continue to pursue higher education, Robinson said.

“The failure to address immigration reform is a reflection of our national unwillingness to confront the history of struggle with nativism and racism,” Robinson said. “Instead of looking at ourselves and assessing our policies and practices that support illegal immigration, we prefer to simply blame the immigrant for all of the problems that we have.

“Many opponents to immigration reform refuse to acknowledge the humanity of the migrants who are directly and irrevocably tied to the issue,” Robinson said. “For me, I choose to side with those Americans who passionately embrace the message so clearly illuminated on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Send me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’”


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