SAN LUIS OBISPO – Cuesta College hosts its first Ethnic Studies Teach-In on Wednesday, March 30, from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. The virtual event will be held on Zoom and is open to community members in addition to Cuesta College students, staff, and faculty.  

Cuesta College’s Ethnic Studies program expands upon two courses offered for the first time in the Fall 2021 semester, Ethnic Studies for Educators and Introduction to Social Justice and Ethnic Studies. These new offerings respond to student leaders and communities of color calling for an expanded curriculum that provides a relevant education in Ethnic Studies. 

“Greater access to Ethnic Studies curriculum can benefit students by increasing engagement, academic success, and participation in advocacy, service, and extracurricular activities,” said Dr. Mario Espinoza-Kulick, Cuesta College Ethnic Studies lead faculty.

The Teach-In will include a project showcase created by Cuesta College Ethnic Studies students and a plenary panel with student leaders and curriculum experts from the California Community Colleges. This panel will discuss the new graduation requirements for high school and college students, center the voices of students who have advocated for creating an Ethnic Studies program at Cuesta College, and explore how the discipline can positively impact communities everywhere.  

“Ethnic Studies benefits students and our community by bringing us together from all cultures and gives us a chance to learn about one another,” said Elizabeth Montijo-Mowrey, former Associated Students of Cuesta College Senator and Secretary of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán. “More importantly, Ethnic Studies helps students and communities stand strong to say that we are still here and we still have a voice.” 

According to Montijo-Mowrey, there is a historical connection between student activism and Ethnic Studies. The field of study emerged in 1968 because of the Third World Front (TWLF) strike made with demands to increase access to higher education for students of color, increase the hiring of faculty of color, and establish programs and departments.

Teach-In participants will join concurrent workshops that explore local student activism for Ethnic Studies and the four historically defined disciplines that make up the broader field: Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Black Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies.  

“Ethnic Studies is an opportunity for marginalized students to feel more connected to their education,” said J.P. Flores, Co-Chair of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán. “It is an opportunity for the rest of the college community to hear all our stories and to know we are Cuesta College, too. It’s also a way to let all peoples know they are being heard, and, through listening to one another, we could all become mutually acknowledged, respected, and inspired.” 

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Melissa Moreno, Founder of the California Community Colleges Ethnic Studies Faculty Council and Chair of Ethnic Studies at Woodland Community College. 

The Cuesta College Ethnic Studies Teach-In is co-sponsored by Latina Leadership Network, Student Success and Support Programs, Equity and Student Success Committee, CaFE (CalWORKs, Foster Youth, and EOPS/CARE), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA), Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC), Friends of the Library, Cultural Center, and the Applied Behavioral Sciences Division. 

Attendees are eligible for up to $250 in cash gift card giveaways. Free registration is available online at

For more information, please contact Dr. Mario Espinoza-Kulick by email at or visit the Latina Leadership Network website by clicking here