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When I was a student at UCDavis - back in the 70's - it was a relatively new thing for universities to have different courses of studies for women, black studies, chicano studies, asian studies, etc. These groups were also afforded their own office and a place for students in each of those groups to join together for their own purposes. What I remember with some pain is that the groups behaved very much like separate entities, and competed with each other in sometimes unkind ways for recognition for their own particular claim to discrimination. In particular, there was a level of serious hostility between women's studies group and the chicano studies group that shared the same floor in UCD South Hall for a period of time. It was unwritten, but true at that time that you had to decide which group you would support, and once you did, you would not be welcome in the other.

At that time I also began working part-time in a government preschool that served families in a Dixon migrant camp. The problems that the migrant workers were dealing with were serious and heart-breaking, and it made all the squabbles on the UC campus seem self-centered and absurd. The UC students were all in a place where there was hope -- through education they could improve their own lives and get a good career and thrive. This was something that would be a dream of heaven to families in that migrant camp -- if they could even let themselves think of it. So I made my choice and put my extra time into helping develop the farm workers service center on Russell Blvd. We did this through the support of the local university and non-university community members and provided a meeting place to collect food, clothing to support to people that clearly really did need it.

Some of the women-vs-black stuff that was flying around during the recent primaries were discouraging because it reminded me of those absurd competitions at UCD. But looking at the democratic convention - and the huge variety of people that were there in Denver - gave me some sense that maybe we have found a path (or perhaps a common enemy?) such that we can all come together finally now and make something of this country. It could become a good place with opportunity for anyone who would work for it - and not just a land of privilege for the rich and powerful. That is my hope.

Margie Lopez Read