Latinx students, staff unite to build stronger community
UW-Madison students, faculty and staff met in a town hall meeting to discuss the future of the Latinx community on campus following the presidential election.
The group of about 30 individuals talked about concerns they had regarding the safety of Latinx people at UW-Madison and issues about the spaces for Chican@ and Latinx students on campus.
According to Chican@ and Latinx Advisor Rachelle Eilers, the main goal of the meeting was to unify UW-Madison’s Latinx community.
“There's so many pockets of us doing great things but we don’t come together often,” Eiler said. “That's my biggest goal, to create more unity and more safe spaces together.”
The group brought up concerns about the representation of Latinx individuals at UW-Madison. Several town hall attendees said they were not aware of student organizations that cater to the Latinx community. They said they struggled to find spaces that are reserved for Latinx students, besides the house for Chican@ and Latinx students called MEChA.
Eilers and UW-Madison graduate student and Assistant Peer Advisor MollyJo Bautch proposed the formation of several committees to organizations and raise awareness of the Latinx community. One committee will create a Facebook group or website to promote spaces for Latinx students campus, while another will organize the protection of undocumented UW-Madison students. Another committee will work to build unity among Latinx campus community members.
“We're going to get more Latinx leaders on our campus to really address these issues because a lot of them go unnoticed,” Bautch said. “Going forward, we're going to be building a foundation for our Latinx community and possibly meeting [our] needs.”
Eilers and Bautch will host two more meetings before the end of the semester where they hope to push the movement forward. Eilers said other minority groups have been meeting and gaining attention and she wants to ensure the Latinx community voice is heard. Daniel Roque, a UW-Madison senior who attended the meeting, echoed Eiler’s incentive.
“I hope there’s more representation for Latinx students on campus, and that we have more of a voice so that our issues can be properly addressed and they don’t go silent,” Roque said.
Roque and Bautch said forming community coalitions is what will make the changes they want.
“I feel we have a direction to go into,” Bautch said. “Being able to have a collective and being on the same page, to know what everyone else is thinking … there's a power in numbers.”