Palomar college’s Multicultural Studies Department hosted Tarde De Familia in April to extend Palomar’s outreach into the communities surrounding the campus, and provide information on the Public Safety programs featured at Palomar.
The biggest purpose of the event is to bring the Spanish speaking community to Palomar College by giving them a welcoming environment complete with Latino speakers and demonstrating that the speakers share a mutual cultural upbringing. The event, held at the Escondido campus, is supported by Palomar’s Association of Latinos and Allies for Student Success (ALASS).
Traditionally held on the San Marcos Campus, organizers saw an opportunity to utilize the new facilities and welcomed the public to the event. The event even attracted locals who were living in the community nearby, especially when the two ambulance helicopters out of Oceanside landed in the rear parking lot.
The event highlighted several speakers and presentations were given predominantly in Spanish. Feedback on previous Tarde De Familia events encouraged organizers to introduce an English speaking demonstrator in order to encourage diversity in its message. Several Emergency vehicles were on display like a fire engine from the Escondido Fire Department and a fully armored vehicle from the Escondido Police.
Carmelino Cruz, English as a Second Language Department member shared his optimism for the event. “We come together and I think it’s been a staple of our college… For the next academic year we’re going to have one [event] in the fall at San Marcos [campus] one in the spring at San Marcos, and then also a spring event in Escondido.
We hope to keep this momentum going and who knows, we may schedule a Fall event in the future at Escondido.”
Dr. Rodolfo Jacobo, Chair of Multicultural Studies introduced the speakers for the night, Jorge Gonzalez, Rodney Ortiz, David Ontiveros, Jesus “Chuy” Ramirez and Ricardo Tlapala. Each had a tale of their personal struggles as young Latinos and the successes that they had in their own personal careers.
The speakers all had one strong and persistent theme to their presentations. The ability to work hard, coupled with a strong support system from family in the face of adversity allowed them to achieve the significant and impressive heights in their lives as public safety officials. They also look back at Palomar College as a positive and guiding force in their lives and fielded questions from the audience about things like the course loads and their personal ethnically Latino backgrounds.
Many of these men came from disadvantaged families, some even from impoverished situations with parents who were devoted to encouraging their children to seek more than they had for themselves. These were the pillars that helped these men grow into the community leaders and professionals that they are today.
Several students were on hand as volunteers and translators. Some even were repeat volunteers from the previous event.
“I think it’s really cool, I think it has great resources for anyone that’s really interested and anyone who wants to network, it’s good to come out meet people,” Mabel Lopez, Environmental Science and Policy major said about working at the event as a supporter and volunteer.
Ana Pereyra, a sociology major also had thoughts on the evening. “People, I think gather for food, but they stick around and start to listen to really motivated speakers. They’re a lot like us (Latinos) with our pasts and give really powerful impressions to the crowd.”
After the main presentation, the emergency helicopters left to assist people in need of life-flight services, and with plenty of wind, dust, and fanfare, the helicopters took off punctuating the last light of the day. The evening ended with the cutting of a cake for all to share, and a powerful message of overcoming adversity with the goal of striving for better communities through education and the support of a strong familial base.
Jesus Chuy Ramirez, Firefighter for the city of Poway and Emergency Medical Education Department member reflected on Palomar’s Educational impact on his career. “It’s never too late to finish what you started in education. I’m an example, if I can do this, and I can continue on, anyone can.”
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