Persistence, perseverance and determination.
“Those are the values that drive me and should drive everybody,” said Alex Moreno Areyan, who held a signing for his book, “Mexican Americans in Los Angeles,” Wednesday at the Chicano Studies Open House.
Areyan’s book focuses on the achievements of Mexican American actors, entertainers, educators, politicians and social leaders from Los Angeles. He said some goals of the book were to document the achievements of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and emphasize the importance of their education to community members.
In his book, Areyan documented the achievements of five UCLA faculty members, including David Hayes-Bautista, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine. Areyan chose to profile Hayes-Bautista for his research into the Latino Epidemiological Paradox, which showed that despite greater risk factors such as average lower income, Latinos have fewer heart attacks, fewer cases of cancer, and live an average of three years longer than comparative populations. The professor of medicine is working to develop health care policies that more accurately reflect the needs of the Latino community.
Hayes-Bautista said he believes Areyan’s book will help bridge the gap between his generation, and today’s college-aged Latinos, who are separated both by age and by culture.
“(This) book is a way of preserving the memory of the Chicano generation,” he said.
Also featured are Carlos Haro, the assistant director emeritus of the Chicano Studies Research Centre, and Reynaldo Macias, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies, who helped establish the Chicana and Chicano studies department as undergraduates in the late 1960s.
“UCLA is an instutition that has a history with regards to Chicano education,” Haro said.
The other UCLA faculty in Areyan’s book are history professor Juan Gomez-QuiÃ±ones and UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero.
“These are the people that took the political beating that it took to establish a Chicana and Chicano studies department,” Areyan said. “They are a source of inspiration to the kids (in the Mexican American community).”
Although UCLA was the 33rd stop on his book signing tour, Areyan said his visit to UCLA was especially important to him because of his ties to the university. He conducted the majority of his research on campus and obtained many of his photographs from the UCLA archives. In the 1970s, Areyan worked as the university director of Affirmative Action, and his wife and daughter are former Bruins.
“The cover of the book came out of this room,” Areyan said of the photo collection at the Chicano Studies Research Center Library in Haines Hall. The cover photograph shows a scene from the campaign to elect Edward Roybal to the Los Angeles City Council.
As a child, Areyan traveled throughout California with his family as a migrant farm worker. His father could neither read nor write, and he attended more than 30 elementary, middle and high schools before graduating from Redondo Union High School in 1960. He worked as a human resource administrator before releasing “Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.” His academic career culminated just 10 years ago with a master’s degree in human resources and an organizational diagnosis from the University of San Francisco.
“Just tell me that I can’t do something. That gets me fired up,” Areyan said. “Anything is possible.”