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Letter of Support for El Centro and director Elvira Prieto from 2017 Alumna

"I remember how we came together frequently to engage in discussion over machismo, racism within the Latine Diaspora, and attacks against our community..."

As the first person in my family to go to college, I remember how nervous I was to live so far from my family and support system. Elvira was one of the first people I met at Stanford who made me feel at home. Fortunately for me, I crossed paths with Elvira and El Centro early on during the beginning of my Freshman year after applying and being accepted to be a Frosh Intern at El Centro.

The mentorship and loving welcome from Elvira, Francis, Margaret, and the upperclassmen helped me grow and navigate the challenges and exciting opportunities of my first year on campus. Centro became my home away from home - where I would go in my free time to work, find friends, search for snacks, take naps in the lounge between classes, and most importantly - where I went to find and create community. I came back to work at Centro every year except for my Senior year when I became an RA for Casa Zapata.

I fell in love with the Center and what it stood for - a place where all were welcome and where we challenged ourselves and one other to connect deeply to our roots and each other. I remember how we came together frequently to engage in discussion over machismo, racism within the Latine Diaspora, and attacks against our community — where we pushed each other to find more profound understanding and where we held each other through profound pain.

I will always cherish the connections I made at El Centro - many of whom are still close friends today - and especially my connection to Elvira. I have been graduated for 6 years now and I still think of Centro as my home and of Elvira and the comunidad we all shared as family.

Raquel Lane-Arellano, Class of 2017

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