History is key to the survival of humanity. It allows us to remember who we were in the past, who we are in the present, and who we want to be in the future. History has allowed the human race to grow, as it is through history that we have the ability to learn from our past. Through the use of primary sources, memoirs, and artifacts we are able to learn more about who we were, which allows us to better understand not only ourselves but also the people around us. 

I came to love History at a young age as it helped me learn more about others as well as myself. I have learned that history always seems to repeat itself, and I cannot help but use the knowledge of these failures as lessons. Spanish philosopher, Jorge Agustin Nicolas de Santayana, wrote, “Those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it.” I feel that this idea is extremely important and has inspired my growing love for history.  

All the recent events that have occurred in our nation and throughout the world have greatly impacted me and have proven Jorge Agustin Nicolas de Santayana’s idea to be true. The Civil Rights Movement marked an era of political turmoil and a push for racial equality and justice. Now in the 21st century, history has gone in a full circle as we find ourselves in the same place. The current political climate has enflamed xenophobic sentiment, encouraged a racial divide, and eschewed institutional racism. Eras of discrimination and racism have been present since the beginning of our nation’s birth and it is essential that we spread love and acceptance instead of reverting back to cynicism and prejudice. Fear should unite, not divide groups.

Learning the history of humanity, although it may be dark and morbid sometimes, gives me hope that the human race will continue to grow. Despite the fact that everything that has happened in the past seems to replay itself in the present, we are still moving forward in many ways. It may seem as though the repetition of the past has been inevitable. However, I believe that one day we will be able to look back at our mistakes and grow from them, building a brighter future. If more people begin to educate themselves, then perhaps it would become more difficult for a lack of knowledge to split people apart.

Different organizations were established during the Civil Rights Movement as individuals saw the need to approach the movement differently and felt that some policies needed to be addressed more so than others. The aim of this exhibition is to examine two things. Firstly, to focus on the Pro-Chicano youth activist organization, the Brown Berets, whose efforts and campaigns took place in the context of the Chicano Movement and to present their policies and strategies used to unite the Chicano public and their fight to secure inalienable rights. Secondly, the aim of this exhibit is to examine how young Chicanas navigated the patriarchy in the Brown Berets organization.

I am a part of the second cohort of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship at California State University, Fullerton. The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is a research-based fellowship that aims to diversify the faculty at Universities by assisting minority students with the desire and dream of becoming a professor.

This summer I had the honor of interning at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. I worked with so many inspiring and hardworking individuals. This internship was enriching and an experience I will never forget! I had the amazing opportunity of creating this exhibit based entirely off of my MMUF research. 

I hope that you enjoy it! 

Monique Garcia, Class of 2021

California State University, Fullerton