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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Academy Award-nominated actor and social activist Edward James Olmos was warmly welcomed to Aggieland as he came to engage students and discuss important issues with his own touch of drama and comedy.
Olmos was invited to the University by the Committee for the Awareness of Mexican-American Culture to be the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony Monday for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Olmos is known for his roles in Stand and Deliver, Battlestar Galactica and Selena. Outside of acting, Olmos is involved in social activism for the betterment of the Latin community.
Prior to Olmoss speech, President R. Bowen Loftin shared some historical facts with the audience about Hispanic history at A&M. Loftin said Hispanics have been involved with the school since its beginning.
The history of Tejanos and Hispanics in Texas is the history of Texas A&M, Loftin said. They came from all kinds of backgrounds, came here to become part of this great Aggie family.
Loftin said the influence of the Hispanic community is still felt today as their presence on campus continues to grow.
Now there are 8,160 Latinos here at Texas A&M almost 20 percent of the student body, Loftin said. His month recognizes the extraordinary contributions of Latinos for this state and this school, and certainly this nation.
After Olmos was welcomed by the crowd with cheers and whoops, he responded with a whoop of his own. Olmos expressed his appreciation for A&M and Aggie football before settling into his speech, which covered topics ranging from the Latino community in the country, race relations across the globe and the importance of education.
Olmos shared his experiences hes had with issues such as the Dream Act directly impacting the Hispanic community, but said the difficulties associated with them have made individuals stronger.
Ive been with a lot of the Dream Act kids. I told them, Youre so lucky to have been able to understand your life in the way you understand it, Olmos said. It has been so difficult that its made you even stronger now.
Olmos said he made those individuals a promise a promise he applied to everyone in the audience to pass that strength on to others.
Promise me that when youre at the full understanding of yourself and youre at the top of your game and youre really doing well and youre really the best teacher you can be, grab the children from your culture and educate them, Olmos said.
Olmos said those in the audience should fully realize their educational potential, which in turn will positively impact others.
Youve got to doctorate. Discipline yourself to go that extra mile, Olmos said. Do it because youre not only going to help yourself and your family but everybody around you. Everybody will benefit from that.
Olmos also spoke about the issue of race, saying there isnt one national holiday dedicated to someone of Latin descent.
If it wasnt for Martin Luther King there isnt one person of color we say thank you to in this country, Olmos said. There are no national heroes of Latin descent. We know many that should be.
Olmos didnt hesitate as noticed by students such as junior kinesiology major Evan Boullosa to speak about sensitive topics that could be viewed as controversial.
He addressed sensitive topics responsibly but didnt pull punches, Boullosa said. The speech was given with such confidence and sincerity that it was easy to side with him.

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