Photo: Mexican American Studies at CUNY
City University of New York inaugurated Friday an institute devoted to Mexican studies and Mexican Americans at Lehman College in the Bronx where 43% of the student population is Latino. The institute’s mission will be to provide support for research as well as community advocacy projects. It will also focus on the history of Mexican Americans in the New York region, offer seminars and conferences as well as provide study abroad opportunities for students.
“At CUNY we don’t do anything in the abstract only. So it’s really a question of combining world class scholarship with advocacy and collaboration with the community organizations,” stated Alyshia Galvez, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican studies at Lehman College to CityRoom-NY Times. Galvez led efforts to form the institute and will serve as its acting director.
In addition to the institute’s mission, it will also provide a new major of Mexican American Studies at CUNY, a Mexican studies certificate for M.S. and M.A. students in nursing, speech, education and other disciplines.
This opening will provide the New York area’s ever growing Mexican American population a ‘home base’ for community organizations in the area. Over the past three decades, New York has seen the Mexican immigrant population increase from 6,740 in 1980 to today’s population of 183,200. It is now the third largest immigrant population in New York.
According to Galvez, “We have CUNY facilities in the five boroughs and we will make them available to the community and enable conversations to happen that wouldn’t otherwise happen. It’s something that will enable them to grow.”