Being Latino in the United States has never been easy, and in the current political atmosphere it feels like the odds are against us.
Currently over 20% of the Latino and Hispanic population in the United States live in poverty. This is the sad truth, and it affects the futures of young Hispanic Americans who are given an unfair disadvantage because of where they grow up.
This is the case for students at a local Las Vegas school, Desert Pines High School. Desert Pines is one of the most “at-risk” schools in the nation and doesn’t have the best reputation, but the students in the Mariachi Program show resilience and determination despite living in a low income community with high crime and violence rates. I can say this from personal experience, that growing up in a low income neighborhood highly increases the chances of students falling into bad habits and decreases the opportunities of going to college. It is easy to make bad decisions in this type of environment.
Despite the odds, the students who are part of this program not only show determination to succeed, they do so all while showing pride in their roots and keeping Mariachi and the music and culture of Mexico alive. The Desert Pines High School Mariachi Program is one of the most recognized in the country and even internationally.
The students have even gone as far as to perform for Los Tigres del Norte, Vicente Fernandez, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Maluma.
However, their Mariachi teacher, Jose Antonio Gonzalez, who has been teaching Mariachi for over 10 years, describes that taking advantage of these prestigious opportunities has not been easy. Although the program is highly recognized, attending events is not easy because they cost money; money that many of the students’ families do not have and that the school does not get funding for.
Not being able to attend these events is certainly a disappointment for these students who work so hard to not only promote Mexican music and culture, but to stay out of trouble in a community where there is almost no opportunities to succeed.
Join Charro Azteca in helping these hard working students in accomplishing their dreams and giving them motivation to keep persevering and working towards their goals.
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