United in Purpose

July 11, 2023

Top: three students writing notes; left, bottom: front of store entrance; right, bottom: 2020 Census question on Latinos/Hispanics

Written by: Ethan Arreguin, Caminos al Futuro 2023

Although we all met each other ten days ago, the Caminos scholars have become a single familia that cannot survive without each other. I find a sense of deep connection and enjoyment with this familia that is simply incredible. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, everyone sees us walking down G St NW like a pack of hungry wolves en route to the GW Deli or for arepas. And whenever we take the metro to explore new places, Carmen and Rachel are at the front of the pack, navigating us through the busy D.C. streets.

Additionally, there is much more than our familia late-night laughs in the game room or soccer field; we are continuously learning and collaborating as we become the future Latino leaders of this nation. Living in a predominantly Hispanic/Latino area, I am surrounded by people who share my same culture. As a result, I was extremely excited to participate in Caminos and gain a deeper understanding of my community and its lasting impacts. Through our daily open discussions led by Doctora Vaquera and Profe Trey, we have learned of a broad range of topics such as immigration, ethnicity and race, and education.

An intriguing topic recently covered with Doctora was identification surveys and forms. Who knew a check box could be so complex? For example, when we fill out a census form, we are asked to identify ourselves into a singular group for race and ethnicity. While filling these boxes out, I would second guess myself. Identifying who we are is such a crucial part of exploring our heritage and building up our communities. As Caminos Scholars, we have pondered questions of Latinidad while also examining how our ethnicity encompasses many factors.

It has been no surprise to us Scholars that issues and topics surrounding Latinos in the United States have been continuously suppressed. Nevertheless, due to common obstacles and adversaries we face as a community, my Cisneros familia has and will continue to band together to educate and empower one another. We are usually the loudest group of people in the room but luckily, we know how to use our voice to establish our presence. Thank you familia siblings, and I cannot wait to see all the things we accomplish!

Ethan Arreguin is a Caminos al Futuro 2023 scholar. Ethan’s views are his own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.