Isla Vista is getting a double dose of 35th District Assemblyman Pedro Nava this week as the politician hosts events today and on Saturday to address issues concerning local Latinos and the I.V. community as a whole.
Nava will visit I.V. Elementary School tonight from 6 to 7 p.m. to discuss various issues affecting Latino families in I.V. Claudia Martinez, a co-sponsor of the event, said she expects approximately 100 people to attend the meeting, which will be held entirely in Spanish. Martinez said Nava will promote the benefits of higher education in his speech tonight. Nava will also host a “neighborhood coffee” event on Saturday at the I.V. Bakery Café at 6558 Pardall Rd. At the event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nava will lead an open discussion of legislative issues that affect the I.V. community.
Martinez, the associate director of UCSB’s Office of Academic Preparation and Equal Opportunity, said Nava plans to focus on higher education in his speech at I.V. Elementary.
“Pedro Nava has a strong interest in higher education programs and wanted to talk to these parents about the many opportunities available for their children,” Martinez said.
Nava said the issues he faced as a native Mexican trying to succeed in America inspired him to discuss higher education with local Latino parents.
“I was born in Mexico and had to make a large transition,” Nava said. “I can relate to the experiences of these parents. This event is an opportunity to honor all of the people who have worked very hard for young people to get an education.”
Andres Mantilla, the student coordinator for the Office of the Isla Vista/UCSB Liaison, said the office is co-hosting the event in order to help Nava promote higher education as a means for low-income parents to ensure successful futures for their children.
“This event will focus on aiding the transition from a low-income lifestyle to succeeding in higher education” Mantilla said.
Mantilla, a fourth-year Latin American Studies and Spanish literature major, said many Latino parents who live in I.V. are hesitant to encourage their children to pursue higher education because their proximity to UCSB’s party scene gives them a negative view on college life.
“Currently, many Latino parents have issues with UCSB because of the image given by UCSB students on Friday and Saturday nights,” Mantilla said “The parents don’t see the community service – they only see the parties and we need to change that.”
Martinez said she hopes students will volunteer to help facilitate discussion between parents, serve refreshments and provide childcare at the event.
Nava said he thinks UCSB students should volunteer at the event out of respect for their own education and to give back to the community.
“Hopefully this will inspire students to get involved and give back to younger students in the same way,” Nava said.