“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” —Donald J. Trump, June 16, 2015
Gilberto Q. Conchas’ and Nancy Acevedo’s The Chicana/o/x Dream: Hope, Resistance, and Educational Success is a timely book that tells the stories of several Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x students while presenting a critical race theory and coloniality analysis on education systems. It includes concrete best practice and policy recommendations based on research completed alongside students with intersectional oppressed identities.
The Chicana/o/x Dream begins contextualizing the current state of the United States education system and people’s political reality under Donald Trump. It concludes with a critique of potential education funding cuts that may accompany our current pandemic situation.
While based in the United States, the book does a lovely job of extrapolating the student testimonies and allowing for any reader, especially education workers, to relate and reflect. Together, we reflect on the stories of gay and/or disabled Chicana/o/xs, Chicana/o/xs who grew up poor and/or without legal immigration statuses (undocumented), single parents, and Chicana/o/xs with experiences in the judicial system, including gang members.
These testimonios are told in the context of secondary and post-secondary education and analyzed using the famous work of queer Chicana scholar, Gloria E. Anzaldúa. Conchas and Acevedo present a strength-based analysis, showcasing the unique ability of people who face intersectional forms of oppression in being able to clearly identify barriers in education systems that may be hidden to those with more privileged identities. They also show that students who face these barriers do not often feel included in education systems or see themselves represented in school; however, with guidance and support, these students take the responsibility to share their success with family and friends around them, building new bridges between marginalized communities and educational institutions.
The Chicana/o/x Dream was an unforgettable experience, filled with “aha” moments, self- reflection, and deep and personal stories that were a privilege to be reading about. I would encourage everyone to read it and learn about the experiences of others, while picking up a little Spanish along the way.