Edúcate conference


Melody Garcia Gonzalez

Pamphlet handed at the conference. The aim of the conference was to educate students on current issues.

Portland State University’s 15th Annual Edúcate Conference held in the Ballroom at PSU.

Wilsonville MEChA attended Portland State University’s 15th annual Edúcate Conference. The conference is aimed to  empower high school students to pursue a higher education. They did so by hosting three different sessions with a variety of activities that covered sexism, colorism, first generation students, self care, environmental justice, etc. As well as other hands-on activities like making bracelets or making a piñata. Miguel Tejeda, freshman and Fernanda Oropeza, sophomore and vice-President of MEChA offer some insight on this event.

Before attending the conference, they each had expectations about what the conference would cover. Miguel says, “I had in mind that we were going to learn about our culture and what options we, as Latinos, had for college and for university.” Fernanda, having attended the Cesar Chavez Conference last year expected this conference to be similar. The Cesar Chavez conference covers the next steps after high school such as college and work. Fernanda says, “I thought that the conference would be almost the same as the usual, Cesar Chavez conference. And it was, the only thing difference was the baile (dance).”

The Edúcate Conference had many activities that the attendees could participate in. Fernanda’s favorite activity of the conference was the keynote speaker – Romario Garcia Bautista. “He was honestly so funny and so relatable. He really opened my mind about being passionate about things that matter to me; it was really inspiring.” Miguel says, “my favorite activity was the environmental justice workshop because it showed a lot of statistics on how illegal immigrants are treated in the farms. That there was a lot of bloodshed because their employers demanded that they keep working leading them to accidentally cut themselves or even got their hands chopped off. It was very hard hitting, but it just taught me more.”

With conferences like this one, there is always a take away. “One take-away from this conference is to value everything I have – from the physical to the mental and health. I want to try even harder in school and show people, who have a prejudice towards Latinos, that we’re all different and you should never think bad about someone because of their race, color, or gender,” says Miguel. Fernanda’s takeaway was on the environmental justice activity, she says, “what I really took away for the conference, was the environmental justice workshop that I went to. It was really sad to hear all these stories and actually notice the pattern of the same story throughout the history in the US. Listening to these stories made me want to work harder and make sure it was all worth it for my mom.”

Lastly, would they recommend it to someone? Miguel answers, “ I would recommend it to people. I would recommend it to any Latino, or anyone who has immigrant parents to go. This would help them see their options in universities and all of the scholarships.” Fernanda replies, “I would totally recommend it with anyone who is interested in Latin culture. I know most people think it’s for Spanish speaking people only but it’s really not. These types of things are for everyone I feel. It’s a good way to open minds and prevent things that primarily happen, to and in, the Latin culture.”

MEChA will probably be making this trip next school year, so keep an eye out for more information on how to attend.