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ASU Downtown Dining Hall staff offer advice to Chicanx students

They stress the importance of Chicanx students seizing every opportunity and representing their community


Luis Fonseca and Lorenza Dominguez discuss their views regarding Chicanx students on the patio of Taylor Place dining hall in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018.

A note from the editors

The State Press is choosing to publish two versions of this story — one in English and one in Spanish — to more accurately represent the experiences of the diverse community of ASU students we cover in this and other articles. The Spanish version was written and edited by staffers fluent in the language, just as any story would be.

Read the story in Spanish here

Lorenza Dominguez, born and raised in the city of Juarez, in Chihuahua, Mexico, arrived in the U.S. at age 15, undocumented and afraid. Today, she is a retired U.S. citizen who has been in the workforce for 45 years and currently maintains two full-time jobs at ASU's Taylor Place Dining Hall and FedEx.

She hopes to acquire enough money to sustain the desirable retirement she envisions — to reside in New Mexico with her family that she has spent most of her life away from.

After getting married and divorced, she raised two kids with the values of discipline and determination that she was raised with. After establishing her place in society, she chose to further her education by studying to be a nurse at Phoenix College, but was deterred by the financial reality of her son’s college education costs.

Dominguez gave up her dreams to make her son’s a reality. Her son attended Arizona State University, with honors, but unfortunately left his studies due to matrimonial obligations.

“The good things in life don’t come easy," Dominguez said. 

She recognizes the fact that one may struggle and has to work for what they want. Due to the values she was raised upon, Dominguez believes one must strive to reach their maximum potential.

She hopes that Chicanx students will take advantage of the opportunities available and positively represent their communities along the way.

"They have to bring their people with them, encourage them to grow and help them in many ways," she said.

Dominguez believes there is a lack of representation of Mexicans in regards to politics and in high positions of power, and she hopes this generation of the Chicanx youth will create that change.

“We began working in the fields, but if you guys have an opportunity to go to school and educate yourselves, well, move on up. You have to make it to the top,” Dominguez said.

She explains that she and her co-worker began working in the fields, but if one have the opportunity to go to college and educate themselves, it is possible climb the socioeconomic ladder and reach one's goals. Dominguez implied that one has to pursue a higher education in order to move up within society.

Dominguez believes that as a part of the Chicanx/Latinx/Hispanic community, the youth must strive towards success because the opportunity to grow, gain a greater understanding of the world and receive an education is possible.

She shares from experience that setbacks may arise, specifically towards students of color, which is why she believes in the ideology that to triumph we must learn to stand out in all forms.

Similarly, Taylor Place Dining Hall staff member Leticia Heizelman provides the Chicanx youth with advice.

"Like I told my son, study because if you don't you will end up like me. Working here and there where they pay you the minimum. You are from (the United States), you speak two languages ​​and if you have the opportunity to pursue your education, you can get a better job. Improve yourself, don't stay at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder," she said.

Luis Fonseca, another staff member in the dining hall, is from Sinaloa, Mexico and decided to come to the U.S. for a better life.

"They are part of the future of this country, and I am very happy for them because they are excelling," he said.

Fonseca suggests that in order for opportunities to arise for Hispanic/Chicanx/Latinx students, or for doors to be opened, one must be present and ready to take on every opportunity.

"If we are in front of a building with a closed door, nobody will know that we are outside if we do not knock," he said.

Fonseca believes this applies to all aspects of the Spanish-speaking community, specifically the youth, who possess the power to create a positive and influential future for themselves and their community.

Reach the reporter at or follow @ifrancor on Twitter.

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