Our Act of Resistance: Graduating From College With Cultural Pride

For Latinx students, graduating from college is a BIG FREAKIN DEAL; especially when we’re first generation college graduates, which all the people standing up in the picture above are (thanks for the photo Diego Nacho!). Having a degree means we did it… We figured out how to go to college in the first place, worked however much we had to in order to pay for it, and burned the midnight oil writing papers, solving problems and studying for days on end.

For DACA recipients and undocumented students, having a degree means they busted their ass fundraising because they’re not eligible for federal and state financial aid and had to pay out of state tuition (students who don’t qualify for DACA still have to pay as out of state residents); They pushed through moments of depression when they thought they weren’t going to make it or worst yet, “is my family going to stay together?;” it means lifting each other up paid off.

Having a degree means our parents can now say “Fíjate que mijx se graduó de la universidad,” and that our younger brothers and sisters have to step up to the plate to not be the “burro” that breaks the trend.

Graduating from college in the good ol’ AZ is an act of resistance that means F&%$ Prop 300, screw the English Only Law, poverty level my ass!

In La Phoenikera, when Latinxs graduate from college, we do it with pride. We decorate our caps with empowering phrases and words of thanks to those who made it possible (¡gracias amá!). We wear Zarape sashes around our necks and honor our culture surrounded by our peeps at the Hispanic Convocation. Why? Because we’re not just college graduates…we’re Latinx college graduates bitch!

We’re able to do that because back in the 80s young Latinxs from the Hispanic Business Students Association and MEChA at ASU got together to organize the first ever Hispanic Convocation. It was held in Guadalupe with 49 students graduating (this year, 4,065 students participated). Community leaders Ed Pastor, Cecilia Esquer, Danny Ortega, Jose Ronstadt and Jerry Pastor led a fundraising effort to help the students make this happen. Phoenikerxs represent!

May 13 was ASU’s Hispanic Convocation and we put out a call on Facebook for those who wanted to share their graduation pictures with us. Here, we share some of those with so much pride, we can’t even…

Congratulations to all of those who nevertheless persisted!


Brenda Guadalajara Lopez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work.


Jason Enriquez graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering.


Korina Iribe Romo is a DACA recipient and it took her 9 years to graduate. She now has a bachelor’s degree in human communication with a minor in political science. Photo by Diego Nacho.


Lambda Theta Nu Sorority. Photo provided by Lizette Trejo.


Michael Roberto Ruiz with one of his professors, Valeria Fernandez.


Alexis Villa now has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.


José Daniel Paredes with his two nieces and nephew who are the reason he went back to school. He now has a bachelor’s of science degree in construction management.


Vanessa Chavez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art in December 2016!


German Cadenas is now a doctor in counseling psychology. He fund raised his way through a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.


Salvador Macias graduated with a Juris Doctor degree and spoke at the Hispanic Convocation as the Ed Pastor Outstanding Graduate.