By Miguel A. Terán López Who are we? We come from many countries, speak multiple languages and dialects, and bring with us different cultures. We touch the lives of many people from their birth to their death. We are doctors who have helped human life be delivered to this earth. We are cemetery and grounds workers who have buried those who have passed away. We are agricultural workers who pick fruits and vegetables from the fields that eventually make it to your table. We are factory workers at meat processing factories who cut and package poultry, beef, and pork for your family cookouts. We are truck drivers who drive hundreds of miles to deliver goods to your favorite grocery store. Who are we? We have sacrificed our lives to help others and have fought in countless wars, many times without being recognized or celebrated for our efforts. We are first responders who rushed into danger after the September 11 attacks twenty years ago. We are nurses who have helped patients fight for their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are members of the armed forces who helped U.S. civilians and Afghanistan citizens in Kabul board airplanes to ensure their safety. We are helpers who rescued our fellow neighbors in need after hurricanes destroyed their homes and flooded the streets. Who are we? We help to shape constructive members of society. We are teachers and professors who influence the lives of students and expose them to the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. We are caretakers who help raise the children of working parents. We are therapists and psychologists who support patients with their mental health stability. We are school administrators who keep the youth safe while they pursue their academics. We are activists who stand up and speak out to ensure that the civil and labor rights of people are respected. We are lawyers who defend clients in the courts to convince the judge to rule for justice. Who are we? We bring diversity and life to our cities. We are car enthusiasts who cruise down the boulevard in our lowriders, hitting the hydraulic switches to jump up and down. We are tattoo artists who draw art on your bodies to eternalize what is important for you. We are street performers who bring brief moments of entertainment while you wait at the stoplight, hoping to get some tips before the light turns green. We are street vendors selling food in carts or food trucks for when you crave something to eat during the day or late at night. Who are we? We are essential workers that keep society running each and every day. We are mechanics who fix your car to keep you moving. We are car wash workers who labor under the scorching sun making sure your vehicle is clean, often times working for less than minimum wage. We are garment workers stitching clothes in sweatshops for retailers where you purchase your apparels, being paid only a few cents per piece of clothing. We are hotel housekeepers and maintenance workers who make sure that rooms are clean and tidy for your next stay, and that everything is operating properly. We are cashiers and store clerks that make sure you get the items that you need. Who are we? We have been called the “sleeping giant” in terms of our voting and economic power. We have been called “dreamers” because we migrated with big dreams of achieving something better. We have been called “illegal” even though many of us were born in the United States or our ancestry/roots in this country can be traced back to hundreds of years. We are often classified as ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Latino,’ and less frequently as ‘Chicano,’ and though this can be a debatable point on how we prefer to be categorized, one thing that is unquestionable is our contributions and influence in the history, culture, and evolution of the United States of America. About the Author Miguel Terán López has been working in the CSU for nearly 11 years, all of which has been spent at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). He is currently working as an Administrative Specialist in the Division of Graduate Education, a department within the College of Education. Miguel is also currently serving as the Chair of the CSUEU Chicanx/Latinx Constituency Group and as a staff representative in the Academic Senate at CSUDH. He was the recipient of the 2015 Staff Awards of Excellence in Student Success and in 2016 was nominated for the Presidential Advisor of the Year Award for his work as a volunteer staff advisor for E.N.F. (Espíritu de Nuestro Futuro), a student organization that supports undocumented students at CSUDH. For more information about Miguel, you can visit his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/miguel-a-teran-lopez.