When I was born in the mid-1960s, I inherited six siblings. Two of them self-identified as Chicanos. They were the first to do so in my family. I was young, but I remember the clothes. The signs touting “Chicano Power” and “Brown Power.” The emblems of fists and fists raised in the air. The rallies for justice. The marches, walk-outs and sit-ins. I remember the feeling of being protected by the Brown Berets when I attended a rally or march.
Limones, is a 28-year-old Chicana barber from Los Angeles. From the time she was in middle school, she had known that she wanted to pursue a career in the hair industry. She started out styling her friends’ hair (and her own) and today works in the barbering industry. “My dad would always remind me that I was Brown, beautiful, and Mexican,” she told CALÓ NEWS. “He would always make me feel proud to be Mexican.”
Yet, if not for my participation in Upward Bound (a federally funded program to help prepare historically marginalized, first-gen kids to pursue higher education), I wouldn’t be able to compete at the highest level in my mathematics. More specifically, if not for my childhood friend Hector from the projects, who peer pressured me to apply to Upward Bound at Occidental College (Oxy) – a six-week, residential program – I would be oblivious to the college application process.