Gamma Zeta Alpha fraternity will be hosting a relief fund carne asada barbecue today from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Educational Opportunity Program lawn to benefit Latino families affected by the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
The fraternity will be offering free food and music, while collecting donations for the relief effort. All proceeds will be distributed through the Asociacion Tepeyac de Nueva York to Latino families who are struggling after the terrorist attacks.
The Asociacion Tepeyac is a non-profit community-based organization that was founded in 1997 by Mexican-American community leaders to serve the Mexican immigrants in New York City and promote social welfare and human rights.
The organization specifically serves undocumented immigrants, many with limited education and resources, who were adversely affected financially by the Sept. 11 attacks. Many of these Latinos, over 500 in number, are reluctant to seek out government assistance because of language barriers and illegal citizenship, despite losing both their family members and jobs.
Gamma Zeta Alpha member Bradley Guevera said he is excited to combine the fraternity’s efforts with AsociacionTepeyac in order to serve the Latino community.
“We maintain the Latino culture through community service,” Guevera said. “We really try to target the Latino community because they really need help, and that is what all the money will go for.”
Asociacion Tepeyac Fundraising Director Teresa Garcia said they receive limited funding from private individuals and small organizations, so the efforts of Gamma Zeta Alpha will be very beneficial.
“We really appreciate the support of the people who are responding to the needs of these people,” she said. “There is not much support or funding, so Gamma Zeta Alpha’s efforts are very meaningful. These people have very limited resources.”
Gamma Zeta Alpha members attempt to educate others about Latino culture through community service and brotherhood. Founded at Chico Sate University in 1987 by 15 young men, the Latino-interest fraternity addressed the need for a support group to help Latino men in college. Chapters soon spread to other California universities including UC Santa Barbara in June of 2000.
“We prefer to stay small but strong,” Guevera said. “We’re a very tight-knit community, we know most of our brothers up and down California.”
Within its first year of establishment, The UCSB chapter received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Commitment to the Community Award for non-black organizations. Gamma Zeta Alpha member Ruben Cordero received the NAACP Freshman of the Year award. Recognized by the university, Gamma Zeta Alpha received the Organization of the Year award from the Office of Student Life and Guevera was awarded freshman of the year.
“We really try to impact people’s lives,” Guevera said. “We try to put ourselves in their shoes because we know where they come from. It’s really tough being a minority.”
Gamma Zeta Alpha Director of Public Relations Jorge Madrid is eager to strengthen the community by working on Latino issues.
“We’re interested in promotion and awareness of Latino issues and presenting them on campus,” he said. “We always encourage anybody to go and learn more about what we do. We have lot of energy; we have a lot planned. We’re just going to hit the ground running.”
For information on Asociacion Tepeyac de Nueva York, visit the website at .