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Hispanic Presidents' Council Student Spotlight, February 2019

Carlo Chunga Pizarro, a Urban and Regional Planning major & GIST minor, class of 2019.

"I came to Texas A&M, because I grew up in college station after leaving Peru in 2002. I went through the public education system in college station, and I fell in love with the thought of being an Aggie. When you grow up in college station, you always feel like an Aggie, however, my family and I did not have that bond like most of the locals that are TAMU alumni. I knew I needed to stay in town help my family with their growing business, but they still encouraged me to leave town. The day I got accepted into TAMU, I bought a "Texas A&M Dad" T-shirt, and then surprised my dad at his food truck.

Being a Latinx student leader is empowering, because in a predominantly white institution being a Latinx student leader is a form of activism. We acknowledge the sexist, and racist history of this university. This university was not made for us. This institution wasn't made for students like us to succeed and attend. In many unfortunate experiences, we begin to enter circles in organizations and class where we start to hold back our culture, language and begin to feel silenced from our true identity. The more that continues, the more likely Latinx student won't connect to any community on campus, attend traditions, or run for leadership positions. There is pressure on every Latinx student leader. There's not many of us, but it's tough to have the entire community look at you for guidance. But if we don't step up, then who will. It's up to Latinx leaders to create a better campus than what was given to us. It's important for us to step up to the plate so that the next freshman student, or high school prospective student knows that they can also be hold high student leadership positions.

Community is what has held me together these past three years. It's tough to find a family in this large university. With many organization that claim to be a family, I found mine with the Council for Minority Student Affairs. Every now and then, we end a meeting with a chant. The chant goes: "It is our duty to fight for freedom It is our duty to win We must love and support one another We have nothing to lose but our chains" Every time we finish that chant, I know that the group of people around me are my family. Those moments are the ones I'll never forget about this university.

The end of DACA affected many student at Texas A&M. With the Council for Minority Student Affairs, we fought for the protection of every undocumented student. When I was elected into the student senate, I vowed to do the most to represent my community. The student senate always had a history of discriminating against marginalized students, specially undocumented students. In a senate meeting on October 18, I introduced legislation to support undocumented students. Presenting the resolution was one of the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Many faces looked at me in anger. However, many CMSA members came to the senate meeting in support of the resolution, and gave me the courage to present. The resolution was passed and sent to every Texas Congress member, Senator, and Speaker of the House leader Paul Ryan. In short, the passing of the resolution meant that over 66,000 Texas A&M students support undocumented students.

I hope that someday Latinx student don't feel like they have to hide their identity. I hope that we can have graduation ceremonies in Spanish so that Spanish-speaking only parents can understand graduation. The Latinx student population will grow. The university needs to accommodate funds, scholarships, and space for Latinx culture. "

- Carlo Chunga Pizarro, 2019

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