By Lita Gaithers |Staff Writer|
“My dream is that all Americans and all colors, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, men and women, the able and the disabled, will give birth to an authentic multiracial democracy,” said Dr. Carlos Munoz, Jr. over the applause of a roaring crowd at CSUSB.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center was packed to the rafters with students anticipating the speech from Munoz, who’s a professor emeritus at the department of Ethic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
This event was sponsored by the CSUSB University Diversity Committee (UDC), which followed a well-planned program that began with statements from Twillea Evans-Carthen (Human Resources Department Manager and Chair, COD Subcommittee), J. Milton Clark (Associate Vice President, Undergraduate Studies and Chair, UDC), CSUSB President Dr. Albert K. Karnig, and professor Nena Torrez (Language, Literacy, & Culture).
Karnig stated in his welcome, “This committee has reached a milestone in presenting its 20th event series at CSUSB within the past eight years of their existence.”
When Carthen took the stage, she welcomed the audience and said, “It has been a pleasure serving as the COD chair.”
Clark further introduced the UDC and said, “…let me start by thanking Dr. Karnig for supporting the UDC for the last 15 or more years. None of this would be possible without his support.”
Torrez in her opening statements said, “I believe that Munoz is amongst the top four Chicanos in the United States due to his work in the civil rights movement, and as a pioneer for starting the first Chicano studies in America in 1968.”
At the conclusion of these opening remarks, Munoz was welcomed to the stage, and he instantly had the audience’s attention.
The manner and tone in which Munoz spoke drew the audience in as he first explained how diverse the Mexican people are. Munoz explained, “There are African roots in Mexico, because the Spanish Conquistadors brought African slaves to Mexico on ships, and they also brought Pilipino and Chinese slaves to Mexico as well.”
Expounding on his statement, Munoz said, “In terms of religion, we’re not just Catholic, although we are mostly, we’re also protestant, Muslims and Jews. The Mexicans represent a whole lot of people.”
Munoz spoke about his influences – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez and W.E.B. Dubois. He touches on the numerous demonstrations and protests he participated in during the 60s and 70s as an antiwar Vietnam vet.
Considered by some, the father of Chicano studies in America, Munoz’s research and scholarship laid the foundation for many to tread. In 1968, when there were no Chicano classes being offered at a college or university, Munoz had the vision and foresight of creating the first Chicano/Latino & Ethnic Studies college curriculum for Cal State L.A. students. It appears that if there’s a college today with a Chicano curriculum or a Latino/Ethnic academic program, it’s due to Munoz.
Munoz continues to envision a world of social change. In a new book he’s writing entitled, “The Challenge for a Authentic Multiracial Democracy In America,” he stated he’s “challenging students to dream of a world where all people can live in peace and not war, where education and health care is defined as a human right.”
Incarceration, affirmative action and other social minority issues were addressed by Munoz as things to dream to be free of. Aside from just speaking of the issues and the inspiring rhetoric of what can be achieved or dreamt, Munoz seemingly challenged the audience to better itself.
Asking the audience if they were ready to “lead” themselves as those of black and brown skin become the ever more majority in America, less they fall into being an apartheid nation. Education was the crucible of which Munoz used to describe as the means to accomplish his dreams of a more diverse world.
“Dream,” he said again. “Dream for your children, and your children’s children. I may not get there with you, I may be in the spirit world, but I can see the day coming.”