CALÓ NEWS is honoring the class of 2023. Several Latinx students at Cal State Long Beach wrote graduation speeches.

Anasazi Ochoa

Cal State Long Beach graduate

Good afternoon y buenas tardes a mis estimados graduados, familia, y amigos. Gracias por estar con nosotros hoy.

It is my deep honor to stand before you today, a second-generation Chicana and the product of education, reclamation and determination.

As of Fall 2022, the number of Chicanx/Latinx students enrolled at CSULB was 51.2% of the total student population. It goes without saying that “The Beach” would not be what it is today without LA RAZA.

It is at CSULB that I have learned that there is more than one way to be Chicanx and Latinx. We are more than just a checkmark on a Census form, a stereotype, or a diversity hire.

It is at CSULB where I found solace in connection to my community, and I realized my purpose was to be a voice for the voiceless.

I strongly implore you all to cherish and protect your cultural identity, because truthfully it is what makes us great.

As members of an ethnically marginalized community, we have the honor of sharing our accomplishments with those who may not have the privilege to do the same. So, I would like to dedicate our successes to the dreams of my people, our people, who could not be here today.

This is for the millions of Indigenous people who claimed their right to this land from birth before it was brutally taken from them.

This is for the thousands of incarcerated Chicanx/Latinx individuals, many wrongfully so, who continue to fight for their freedom in a corrupt justice system that works against them.

This is for the two educators and 19 children of Uvalde, Texas, whose dreams were ripped away from them, by a country that refuses to ensure their safety in a classroom.

This is for the millions of Latin-American immigrants who are crossing the border every day, risking their survival in search of a better life. 

This is for the children of those immigrants, the Dreamers, many in this room today.

This is for the millions of working-class Latinos, who continue to do the jobs that America depends on but fails to value as they should.

This achievement is for the thousands of street vendors and migrant workers, who maintain this country with their hard work.

Let us remember that it is because of the dreams of our people that we have the ability to be here today.

I encourage every graduate to take in this moment, because it is here where we prove every prejudice and statistic wrong, and we create our own narrative. We have come this far, but the journey doesn’t end here.

It is up to us as incoming professionals to ensure that we are not only maintaining our seat at the table but creating opportunities for those that come after us. Whenever you feel any self-doubt or hesitation, remember, Brown is beautiful, and our mere existence is something our ancestors could not fathom in their wildest dreams.

Congratulations y felicidades to the Class of 2023.

Cassidy Reyna

Cal State Long Beach graduate

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had so many dreams and aspirations. When I was four, I wanted to be a princess, and when I was eight I wanted to be a surgeon because I would watch “Untold Stories of The E.R.” with my dad. As much as I love shows about doctors and horror movies, I’m actually quite squeamish, so that aspiration/dream quickly went out the window. 

When I was 14, I honestly lost my way due to mental health struggles such as anxiety and depression. 

I have overcome these obstacles. It hasn’t been easy. As a first generation college student, I decided to fight for me and for my family too. I’m Chicana. On my mother’s side they are second generation, originally from Guadalajara and Jocotepec, and on my father’s side they are third generation from Sonora and with indigenous Yaqui.

To be completely transparent, I was supposed to attend the University of Oregon, but decided to stay home in East L.A. to help me and my family save money. It was hard, but I knew it would be for the best because, looking back now, I would not be who I am today without my loved ones. I love them so much, without staying, I wouldn’t be, what I like to call myself an Emo journalist, una periodista rockera, like the meme “¡Soy rockera como Alejandra Guzman!”

I am a firm believer that even though what we’ve gone through has put us through hell and back, it’s built us to be stronger. I think it’s important to note that all of us standing here today with our future ahead of us, it’s okay to take it easy and make mistakes. It’s okay to lose your way and find it all over again. Nothing is simple. Nothing is easy. If it were, I think we would be experts at this thing called life. Just like the theme of our ceremony, “For the dreams of my people,” I find that all of our dreams, no matter what they are, make our people proud because we are doing it for us and we are doing it for them.

Brenda Payan

Cal State Long Beach graduate

The best things on Earth have all started with a dream. I believe that all of you who are here today, with your graduation caps on, are those who had the courage to have a dream and never let it go. And I am also sure that some of you who call yourselves “Dreamers” out here today are because you came from further distances to accomplish your dreams, and that name has been well-earned and is to be honored and respected. A round of applause for our DACA recipients. Congratulations, you prevailed.  

Not only the university, but also the community of Long Beach, has given me the chance to know myself better, to create a better and more authentic me. To create someone I never thought possible. Both the city and university have given me the opportunity and ability to accept my dreams as part of my new reality, dreams I never thought possible because of my roots and background. But today, I am now accomplishing the impossible, because I never stopped following my dreams. 

I hope you never stop dreaming new dreams after accomplishing the one today of earning and acquiring a college degree. As long as you have life in your body and passion in your soul, a dreamer never stops dreaming. That is why it is an honor to be called a “dreamer,” because with every dream that we accomplish, I seriously believe we make the world a better place for everyone. 

For my people who dream, I dedicate this speech to you and I wish you all the congratulations in the world and hope that you remember to celebrate every goal or dream that you accomplish. To celebrate every step along the way is how we get to where we are today. And it is with our Latinx and Chicanx communities that we find our power and our pride to continue and advance even further in a system that wants to see us down. We are gathered here today to celebrate the accomplishment of the dreams of our people and of our family. 

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Anasazi Ochoa is a freelance writer and recent graduate from California State University, Long Beach, where she studied Journalism and Chicano/Latino Studies. Anasazi hopes to pursue a career in broadcast...

Brenda Payan is a public relations major at California State University, Long Beach. She is the editor-in-chief of the first and only Spanish magazine in the city of Long Beach. She is a freelance writer...

Cassidy Reyna (she/they) is a Los Angeles native and California State University, Long Beach Journalism graduate. While they were at CSULB, they were Managing Editor for Arts & Design for DÍG en Español...