In 1972, the term ‘Chicano’ represented a portion of the population that struggled for political consciousness and inclusion. According to students, faculty and staff at the University of Southern California (USC), the term ‘Chicano’ today, represents many different things to many different people.
Our department, however, has chosen to continue to use the term ‘Chicano’ in its name, El Centro Chicano for many reasons. The 1960’s Civil Rights Movement proved to be a turning point for people of color in America. The Chicano Movement came out of the Civil Rights Movement and continued into the 1970s; this movement was prominent in California and throughout the southwest.
Historical achievements allowed for improved socio-economic conditions and greater access to higher education. Such improvements were brought to the University of Southern California by Chicanos, who were mostly students, community members and family members from diverse nationalities and backgrounds. They shared a common ideology that called for democratic procedures, inclusion and pride for one’s indigenous heritage.
It is these principles that served as the foundation for El Centro Chicano at USC. Since 1972, El Centro Chicano has not only continued to foster these ideals, it is these principles that have allowed us to develop and succeed as a quality student-centered department. All Trojans now have the opportunity to experience higher education in a comfortable, safe and familiar setting. El Centro is a home that was made possible by the Chicano community and thus in an effort to respect and honor those who struggled throughout the movement, it is with pride that we remain El Centro Chicano.