Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

El Centro Chicano y Latino is open Mon - Fri, 10am - 5pm, up through Friday, June 13th. 

Main content start

Letter of Support for El Centro and director Elvira Prieto from 2021 Alum

"I also observed a growing awareness that the center needed to be more inclusive of all facets of Latinidad"

I am deeply grateful for my time at Stanford, as it provided a transformative experience where I grew and developed both personally and professionally. Despite the numerous challenges I encountered, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and personal challenges, I was fortunate to have a strong support system at Stanford, with El Centro Chicano y Latino and its professional staff, especially Elvira Prieto, being an integral part of it.

My first interaction with Elvira took place before I even became a Stanford student, during the El Centro welcome on admit day. It was there that she personally reassured me of my place at Stanford, making me feel like I truly belonged and had a home on campus. As a first-generation, low-income student, navigating admit weekend was overwhelming, but El Centro's welcome provided the support and encouragement I needed to not only overcome those challenges but also thrive at Stanford.

From the moment I started my first year, I knew I wanted to be a part of El Centro, and thankfully, I was given the opportunity to join the student staff team. Throughout my four years at Stanford, working at El Centro brought me immense joy. Some of my favorite moments included reporting for Cafecito duty, where I helped prepare hot chocolate for the weekly Cafecito gatherings, and organizing events for family weekend, witnessing the powerful emotional reactions of parents during the performances and testimonials shared by the students of our community.

During my time at El Centro, I also observed a growing awareness that the center needed to be more inclusive of all facets of Latinidad. This dialogue was evident in the events we sponsored, such as workshops on anti-blackness, film screenings of movies like "Bakosó: AfroBeats of Cuba," and conversations and book signings with figures like Gabby Rivera, the writer of Marvel's America Chavez comic series. While I understand that these conversations require ongoing effort beyond events like these, I can attest to the thoughtfulness and intention behind El Centro's engagement and response to the feedback it received.

Unfortunately, the end of my time at El Centro coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to my last four quarters at Stanford being remote. This period posed significant challenges, especially considering El Centro's reliance on in-person programming. However, we at El Centro strived to remain active and supportive of our community even during this difficult time.

Although I was unable to witness the resumption of in-person programming due to my time at Stanford ending remotely, I can only imagine the complexity and challenges the post-pandemic world brought forth. Healing from the effects of the pandemic has added an additional layer of complexity to an already demanding set of conversations. Nonetheless, I have faith in El Centro's resilience and commitment to adapting and meeting the evolving needs of its community.

Overall, I am incredibly grateful for my time at Stanford, the growth it brought me, and the unwavering support I received from El Centro, particularly from Elvira. Their dedication and inclusive approach made a profound impact on my Stanford experience, and I am honored to showcase the remarkable work El Centro's student and professional staff have done over the years.

Salvador A. Tello, Class of 2021

More News Topics