By Courtney Jasper
JMC 54 Writer
Latinos at Drake University are finding a home away from home through La Fuerza Latina. La Fuerza Latina is known on campus as LFL. According to the La Fuerza Latina’s Facebook page, the goal of LFL is to provide space for Latino students to explore issues that impact them and seek opportunities to make Drake University more inclusive.
Carmen Vargas is the President of LFL and a founding member of the club when it was established at Drake in January 2015. “Drake being a predominately white school, makes it hard to feel at home,” Vargas said. She explained that before founding LFL it was difficult to find and meet other Latino students on campus.
LFL gave Vargas a platform to speak about Latino issues and to create a community for Latinos on campus to meet. “Forming our LFL family has been so great because those are the people we count on when we are having a rough day or when we can’t seem to find anyone to understand us,” Vargas said. Since it’s founding LFL has gone to conferences to empower Latinos, hosted on-campus events and mentored local students. “It’s an important group because we do a lot of work in the community with middle school and high school students,” LFL member Jhoanny Toledo said.
Toledo joined LFL after hearing that it was at Drake. “I like that there is a group on campus that understands my culture,” Toledo said. Since joining the club Toledo attended two conferences with LFL that she claimed helped her to grow as a Latina woman and leader.
Toledo explained that she was glad that LFL was established on campus because of the recent anti-immigrant policies that are being supported. “LFL brings Latina students on campus together and we try to spread awareness of the issues that are going on in the community and across the United States,” Toledo said. Although LFL has been on campus for just over a year it has made a lasting impact on LFL members. “It has given me leadership skills and confidence to be whatever I want to be regardless of my race or ethnicity,” Vargas said.