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Voices / A Forum for Community Issues | Youth Opinion

Accepting Affirmative Action's Demise

April 25, 1998|JUAN de JESUS SORIA | Juan de Jesus Soria, 17, is a senior at South Hills High School in West Covina. He plans to attend UC Santa Cruz in the fall. He applied but was rejected by UCLA, UC Berkely and UC San Diego

You do not owe us anything because we are African American. You do not owe us anything because we are Latino. If we have to work one or two or 20 times as hard, then so be it. Is it merely a coincidence that one year after the nullification of affirmative action the numbers of Latinos and African Americans accepted in the UC system dropped considerably? If we are suddenly so unprepared, then why have we reached the heights of success? Why are we doctors and lawyers, engineers and teachers? Who among your graduates isn't prepared for the present? Aside from all of the political ramifications, where is the brotherhood? Where is the friendship? Where is the rainbow?

UC Berkeley and UCLA are located in two of the most diverse cities in the world. We do not hate or despise Asians or whites. We care for them. We love them. We cannot continue without their support. We cannot walk alone. But they will suffer the most. They will be denied our beauty. They will be denied our grace. They will be denied our diversity.

In the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. staged a boycott that ignited a fire of freedom and hope. Today we are not fighting to ride on a bus but to be educated. Today we stand on a threshold of technological bliss. But the fight is as simple as ever. Let us not forget the Little Rock Nine. They where nine children who where the first, during the 1960's, to desegregate a school in Little Rock Ark. They carried the burdens of the world on their shoulders. They carried our hopes and dreams. They succeeded, not so much for themselves but for us.

Every day they were prepared for war. And it is because of this kind of bravery that we are able to sit on a solid foundation of freedom.

Those select few who have been admitted to the UC system are urged to carry on the spirit of the Little Rock Nine. This is a call to arms. A call to education. You must go and open those doors, those wrought-iron gates beyond their limitations. We must shatter the doors of persecution so that we may bask in the comforting rays of mutual acceptance and understanding.

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