There are always buildings that you tend to walk by and have no idea how significant they are. That is a perfect way to describe Building 406 at University of California Santa Barbara otherwise known as El Centro.
El Centro is known for its deep and rich history involving activism, protests. and inclusiveness. El Centro is the main building where many latinx and other student organizations hold their meetings, and a place where people primarily latinx folk can come and feel at home. It has a rich history of lots of activism and students fighting for their rights. At one point it was even bugged by the government in order to learn their plans and secrets. So trying to keep this building intact was a top priority and not having it taken away in order to expand the library like the campus was planning to do.
No one knows knows about this building every time I talk about it. It really is a building that is always over looked all the time. Everyone I feel should learn about these building because of the history that it has and the meaning it has to many students. For many of these students its a place for comfort, it makes them feel at home. A lot of students use this building to connect and interact with other Latinos who have similar backgrounds and shared experiences which make navigating the college life way more easier.
I like to call El Centro as El Centro de la Memoria which in English translates into the center of memory. This building holds the collective memory of how students have had to fight for their rights to a better and fail education. It hold the memory of many polarizing events that changed the campus such as the Hunger strikes that occurred in 89 and 94. these strikes changed the entire campus with a lot more inclusion and a safer environment for latinx people and people of color in general. One of the most known changes that is still present to this day was the addition of the ethnicity requirement.
This building means so much to so many people but past and present students , yet it is easily over looked. El Centro must be maintained here at UCSB and it should be one that is known for its long and rich history and all the students that have passed through there and have become great leaders and have made a change. There stories should be told too, just like this building story should as well.
“Guide to the UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection CEMA 93.” Guide to the UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection CEMA 93. El Congreso, n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
“Living History Project: UCSB Hunger Strikes.” Living History Project: A Collective History of Student Engagement at UC Santa Barbara. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.
05, May. “Latino Hunger Strike Continues at UCSB.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 1994. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.
“UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection.” Online Archive of California. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.