Monday, May 3, 2010

UWM and Hispanic Community 40th ACCCT Kickoff Celebration Initiated In Milwaukee

Top photo(L-R): Carmen C. Cabrera, Rita Renteria-Valenzuela, Marla J. Possell, Fela Salinas and Rose Ferrar.
Bottom photo: H. Nelson Goodson, UWM alumni

May 3, 2010

Milwaukee (HNNUSA) - The Roberto Hernández Center, students and the Latino community initiated the 40th Anniversary Committee Commemoraing the Chapman Hall Takeover (ACCCT) event. The event took place at the Student Union Fireside Lounge. The ACCCT committee recognized and is commemorating the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) takeover on August 27, 1970 during the education reform movement. In 1970, there were only 14 Latinos attending UWM compared to more than 25,000 non-Hispanic students. Discrimination was the normal practice at UWM against Latinos, minority high school students and low income White students. "Discriminatory treatment was the norm," cited from Myraid Magazine UWM 1990.
Today, there are about 1,400 Latinos attending UWM and more than 30 Latino faculty at the urban university. UW Regents hired the first Latino Chancellor Carlos E. Santiago, which adds to a great year and 40 years of educational accomplishments and partnership between both UWM and the Hispanic community.
After 34 years of the Latino community takeover of UWM, on July 1, 2004, Carlos E. Santiago became the first Hispanic chancellor of the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee. Chancellor Santiago has a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University (1982) and M.A. degrees in economics from Cornell University (1979) and the University of Puerto Rico (1975).
Dr. Enrique Figueroa, Director of the Roberto Hernández Center opened the 49th ACCCT kickoff and Ernesto Chacon, one of the contributing leaders in 1970 and Co-chair for ACCCT's ongoing preparations for the event. Chacon confirmed that a banquet will be held at UWM's Ballroom on September 18, to recognize and commemorate the takeover. The banquet will help generate scholarship funds for students. He told the participants that in 1970, the community was involved in addressing numerous issues effecting them. But, Civil Rights and Education took priority and a group involving himself, Jesus Salas, Juanita Renteria, Marla O. Anderson, Dante Navarro, Armando Orellana, and Roberto Hernández decided to challenge Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and UWM during the first meeting at United Migrant Opportunity Services. The group wanted for MPS to provide college bound courses for high school students, especially Latinos and for UWM to accept them at the university.
UWM resisted and the Latino community gathered and then planned a takeover. The first attempt was made in the Summer and the UWM Chancellor J. Martin Klotsche and administrators ignored their demands. Then on August 27, 1970, the community for the second time went to Chapman Hall where the chancellor has his office to demand an opportunity for Hispanic high school students to enroll at UWM. Chancellor Kotsche disappeared and canceled a scheduled meeting with the Latino group. The group decided to takeover Chapman Hall, the chancellor's office and numerous parts of the UWM campus for almost a week.
Five people were arrested, Jesus Salas, Dante Navarro, Marla O. Anderson, Gregorio "Goyo" Rivera and Jose Luis Huerta-Sanchez. After being released from the Milwaukee Police Department jail, they returned to UWM where more than 500 Latino and non-Latino parents and students had taken over the UWM campus.
Afterwards on September 1, 1970, UWM Chancellor Klotsche and administrators decided to enroll Latino students and created the Spanish Speaking Outreach Institute and a satelite office on Milwaukee's South side. Hispanic students were enrolled at UWM to take credited college courses, before they had graduated from high school. The students had to agree on attending UWM after getting a high school diploma. The first and only such educational program in the country.
An alumni from UWM, H. Nelson Goodson, an Immigration Reform and Civil Rights journalist provided the following account of his own experience at the university. Goodson is the proud son of Marla O. Anderson known for her instrumental leadership and persistence to change UWM's discriminatory policy towards Hispanics.
Goodson recalled the following incident in July 2001, he said he went to UWM to get an update from the Roberto Hernández Center for an article relating to UWM. The National Council de La Raza (NCLR) was scheduled to hold their annual conference (July 14-18, 2001) in Milwaukee. NCLR organizers noticed that in Milwaukee, numerous Hispanic volunteers and members of the steering committee were highly educated and became astonished and wanted to know why. Goodson said, he had about a week to write an article for El Conquistador Newspaper in time for the conference.
He went to UWM and ended up at the Roberto Hernández Center (RHC) where Carmen Cepeda, the Senior Advisor for the center was working alone during the summer. Goodson asked Cepeda, if she knew where some of the historical pictures of the 1970 takeover were stored and to get an update on the RHC. Goodson remembered that it was in early July, a month before the takeover had taken place almost 31 years ago at UWM.
Cepeda told Goodson she didn't have a clue where the photos were and she or the Interim Director William Velez had no idea what was happening to the center or the future it hold. They had just terminated a position of an advisor.
Goodson took it upon himself to investigate the RHC situation. He ended up speaking with Leslie O. Schulz, PH.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor at Chapman Hall, and after a brief converstion with her, Schulz pulled a two page draft document revealing the entire restructing of the RHC, which a committee composed of various members of the community had been working with UWM for quite sometime. The structure and future of the RHC was being kept in a file until Goodson happened to request a copy of the draft to include it on the UWM and RHC article for NCLR and the public. Goodson went back to the RHC in Holton Hall and gave Cepeda a copy of the document to update her. The Spanish Speaking Outreach Institute was renamed the Roberto Hernández Center in 1996.
"The article was published on July 13, 2001 by El Conquistador Newspaper and it was distributed at the conference and in the Latino community. Shortly afterwards, the RHC future was secured and forced UWM to impliment the plan for the center. Figueroa was hired and UWM had also hired a new chancellor. The two page article was and continues to actually be the first most concised and accurate story that was ever written and published. Both Chancellor Nancy Zimpher in 2001 and Chancellor Santiago have received honorary copies for educational purposes. When people and students read it, they are automatically transformed into that time period making them feel, they were actually there with their parents," Goodson said. Shortly after, other articles followed and published.
I'm proud of what my mother (Marla O. Anderson) and the Latino community did and accomplished during the 1970's at UWM. Because of them, I have gained an education and graduated from UWM, which provided me with the skill to document one of the most important and historical events in their honor concerning higher education and our Latino community accomplishments in the 20th century in Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee, added Goodson.
Goodson is a Co-founder and former editor of El Conquistador Newspaper. He currently is a Co-host for Nfoque Latino, a popular Spanish language radio talk show aired by WJTI 1460 AM in Milwaukee.
Another alumni at the event, who didn't want to be identified says, that today there is "not enough outreach to MPS high schools where there is a significant concentration of Latino students. UWM needs to expand their outreach and recruitment to suburban, Fox Valley, Madison area high schools, Riverside High School and especially South Divison High School."      
Monetary awards were given for the 40th ACCCT logo design, Jacob Flom, 1st place, Oscar Luna, 2nd place and Alan Lozano, 3rd place.

Related article:

UW-Milwaukee to commemorate 40th Anniversary of the takeover of Chapman Hall in 1970


Here's the ¡Adelante! MPTV TV 10 show with host Patricia Gomez that aired a segment on Jan. 18, 2010 of the 40th Anniversary and Commemoration of the September 18, 2010 event at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). It shows the banquet at the UWM Ballroom and the vintage news footage of the actual takeover of Chapman Hall and UWM on August 27, 1970. The Hispanic community marched, fought, struggled and took over UWM for higher education access. Their endeavers succeeded to over turn the discriminatory UWM policy that kept Latinos from enrolling at the university.  Video Link:

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