Latinos in Hayward

By Albania Alegría
California State University Eastbay
(formally known as Hayward)
March 15, 2005

 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. The History of Hayward
III. Education
IV. Economy
V. Politics
VI. Community
VII. Conclusion

Introduction
Known as the "Heart of the Bay," Hayward, California, has been a prosperous city that has developed throughout the years. With its convenient central location, many people enjoy living in Hayward because of the services that it offers. Hayward is the home of many schools including Chabot College and California State University, East Bay. Serviced by an extensive network of transportation, Hayward has an executive airport, and companies that export nationally and internationally, for example Shaklee and Solexa, Inc.
Hayward goes beyond than just providing the growth of business, transportation, and education. It's the home of many immigrants from all parts of the world. Specifically Latinos are the majority and constitute 34.2% the population in Hayward1. In education, Latinos have created programs that promote higher education for all races in Hayward. They also contribute a vast amount in the city's economy because they are the majority of the labor force, consumers and entrepreneurs. In Hayward politics, Latino leaders have encouraged other Latinos to be involved in policies and issues that affect them. In the community, they have been involved in promoting many Latin American festivities in order to educate others of their culture.
With the vast involvement of Latinos in many different sectors of Hayward, it is important to learn about the different types of organizations and leaders of the community. This will allow us to understand the vital role that Latinos play in education, economy, politics, and the community in Hayward.

The History of Hayward
In order to have a better understanding of Hayward we must have an understanding of its history. Guillermo Castro, the son of Joaquin Isidro Castro who came to Northern California with the de Anza Expedition of 1774 from Mexico, took possession of what is now known as Hayward in 1839. A few years later, in 1841, Guillermo Castro was given a land grant of 600 varas square by Governor Juan Alvarado. Governor Micheltorena then gave him an additional 27,000 acres on 1843. These two parcels became known as San Lorenzo Rancho---the grant spread over Hayward, Castro Valley, Cull Canyon, Crow Canyon, and Palomares Canyon.2 A few years there after, a few occurrences took part in the effect of Guillermo's ranch.
When the United States annexed California at the end of the war with Mexico in 1846, it had an effect on the lands of Guillermo and others. With the Gold Rush, many gold-seeker immigrants came from France, Australia, Germany, England, Italy and South America in search of fortune in California. Unfortunately, many were unhappy with their poor results of finding gold and decided to stay in the Bay Area to locate farms, start business enterprises, practice profession, or build towns.3
Ranches, like that of Guillermo, were in desire of purchase by these people. If purchasing land were not granted to them, many would "squat" on open acreage and claim it by right of homestead. In 1854 William Hayward, a bold squatter from Massachusetts, purchased his first block of land from Guillermo Castro. He soon built Hayward's hotel, which functioned as post office and as a place where many tourists and travelers stayed. In addition, Hayward became very known as a political leader in the area. In 1876, the city of Hayward was incorporated.4
The history of the city of Hayward, lets us delve into past in order to observe the changes the city went through. For our purposes we will concentrate in the Latino sector of Hayward during the mid twentieth century to present day.

Look Out! They Are Everywhere
It is interesting to see evolution of Latinos in California, especially in the Bay Area. With the civil rights movements of the 1960's and the enormous amount of immigration that has occurred since the early twentieth century, the momentum of Latinos in different types of areas, such as education, politics, economics, and society, have created a diversified and strong impact in Hayward.

Education
Education plays a crucial role for all different types of races. In Hayward, there are programs offered that foster not only in the areas of education, but also as a stimulant to pursue higher education. For example, when Sunset High School was still intact in the late 1980's, there was a club called Latinos de la Nueva Raza whose purpose was to help the Latino students to have high self-esteem in order to encourage the students to go into higher education. This club also had a positive ripple affect to which prepared students to perform their leadership skills in other leadership positions.5
Similarly, today there is an excellent program that I have had the privilege to be a part of called Puente. Puente is a preparation academic program that helps disadvantage students to enter in a four-year college and university. It offers services in teaching, counseling, and mentoring to students.6 All the high schools in Hayward, including Chabot College, offer the Puente program. As a former Puente student, I was involved with the program all throughout my high school career. Puente allowed me to learn about other Latino cultures and perform my leadership skills as an activity coordinator for the club for two consecutive years.
Puente not only prepared us for the college environment but it also allowed us, as students, to be educated and educate others of the Latino culture. Although the Puente program is opened to all races to participate, most Hayward students were predominately Latino. We enjoyed celebrating the culture festivities of Latin America in our high schools because it allowed us to express our cultural roots to others who are not familiar of it.
Similar to the idea of the Puente Club, José Francisco Zermeño, an active participant in the Hayward Latino community and a Spanish professor a Chabot College, believes in the idea of educating non-Latinos of the Latino culture. Zermeño emphasizes that, "it is good to educate the non-Latinos so that they are not scared of us [Latinos]".7
In my interview with Zermeño he spoke about an incident where the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan (MECHA), a student Chicano organization involved in public policy that concern Latinos, wanted to organize a conference in the Chabot College Theatre. Zermeño, the advisor for MECHA of Chabot College, had a difficult time convincing the administration, which was hesitant of approving the conference because of the amount of money that was going to be spent on security personnel, of holding a conference at Chabot. Zermeño, who was bothered by their attitude, insisted that his educated students were only going to have a conference and were not in need of security guards, and that he would be supervising this event. He expressed his disappointment by saying to me, "these people think that when Latinos come together we are going to cause riots." Fortunately in 2002 MECHA held their conference at Chabot surrounded by many security guards; however, the administration still wants MECHA to be responsible for the payment of about $3,400 for the security that was hired for that event.8
Organizations like MECHA, programs like Puente, and leaders like Zermeño, represent the amount of pride, encouragement, and emphasize on education that help the young Latino generation to strive for a better life. Mark Salinas, an ethnic studies professor at California State University East Bay (formally known as Hayward) and sociology professor at Chabot College, expressed to me his role in the Hayward Latino community. Salinas, a young Mexican-American leader, says, "My role as an educator is in the responsibility to prepare our leaders."9 Salinas encourages young Latinos to pursue postgraduate in order to become leaders of our society.
In addition to the programs that facilitate the growth of the young Latino individuals, Latinos incorporate an interesting aspect to education. Latinos bring a varied background of experience and skills that can be utilized for the academic environment. For example, the ability of Latinos being bilingual allows their uniqueness to be exposed to other individuals and may be of help in a certain circumstance. It is important to be surrounded by other races in order to learn other customs different from one's own.
Since the population of Latinos is growing in the Hayward community, it is crucial to prepare and educate the Latino students for leadership roles. Educators and programs help encourage the Latinos to exercise their creativity, intelligence, and entrepreneurship, for the future positions that will be available and that they might take in the Hayward or in any other area of the United States.

Economy
In the economy, Latinos have played an important role in many different aspects. As the population of Latinos increases, they take part of different areas of the economy.
Latinos import goods from Latin America and sell their products in the United States. In addition, Latinos play a very important role in the labor force. Many are custodians, housekeepers, waitresses, landscapists, and employees at fast-food chains, as well as professors, managers, construction workers, social workers, etcetera. Also, they are a big part of the consumption of all of the United States. In many neighborhoods of Hayward one is able to see the Latino businesses growing rapidly.
Latinos, who are not that fortunate to run a business, work very hard to earn a living. The Labor force has constituted many Latinos that are immigrants and citizens of the United States. For example, during the 1960's Alicia Rodriguez was an employee of one of the biggest industries that Hayward had, Hunt Brothers Cannery. The Hunt Brothers Cannery was established in Hayward in 1897 on B Street.10 For many Latinas of the East Bay, like Alicia Rodriguez, cannery work was the main source of employment. There were many occasions when the workers were required to work up to twelve hours of numbing, monotonous labor, standing on their feet for long periods with few breaks, their eyes strained by the fruit moving along relentlessly on conveyor belts.11
Unlike Alicia Rodriguez's physically strenuous job, other Latinos are fortunate to run a successful business. Many residents of Hayward purchase Latin American products that are sold in the small and humble stores that are owned by Latin Americans. For example, many people buy products at the Chavez Super Market located on Tennyson Road. They offer a variety of goods---fresh meat, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and daily personal items. It also has added to its business a taqueria---a Mexican restaurant that sells tacos, burritos, and other native culinary dishes.
In 1984, David Chavez, an ambitious Mexican immigrant from Michoacán, opened his first Chavez Super Market store in Redwood City, California. With the great success in the Redwood City neighborhood, he decided to expand his business in the 1990's and incorporated his super market in Hayward, Sunnyvale, and Menlo Park.12
Since the Latino businesses are expanding in the city of Hayward, José Francisco Zermeño, Mark Salinas, and others founded the Latino Business Roundtable (LBR) in 2004. With the help of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce, founders of the LBR have been concerned about Latino business owners not being members of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. The mission of LBR is to get as many Latino business owners to participate in civic affairs in Hayward.13
People like Alicia Rodriguez, David Chavez, and the founders of the Latino Business Roundtable, are part of our Hayward community. Their arduous work and commitment becomes the well-being of the habitants, the owner of the business, and the economy of the city of Hayward. For that reason, Latinos play an important role in Hayward.

Politics
With the break way of the civil rights movements, it allowed many different types of races to unite for the struggle for equality and justice. The Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (also known as the Chicano Movement), is one of the least studied social movements of the 1960s. The movement touched many issues---from restoration of land grants, to farm workers rights, to enhanced education, to voting and political rights.
The same idea of justice was also brought to Hayward with the Mexican Political Association (MAPA) in 1960. MAPA chapter of Hayward, whose founder was J.P. Fernandez, dealt with issues of police brutality, education, violation of immigrant rights, and most importantly representing the Latino political voice. Ray Solis was a well-known activist and member of MAPA. Besides fighting for justice, Ray Solis also became a Spanish interpreter for the Hayward police. In 1972, he became the president of MAPA 14. He demonstrated his active commitment by stating, "I was born in Mexico but raised here [United States]. My responsibility is to the United States but my heart is for Mexico."15
A long supporter of Ray and activist was his wife Marieta Solis. Marieta became the treasurer of MAPA of the Hayward chapter in the 1960's and took a leading role of organizing fundraisers. Marieta wanted women to contribute in the organization and decided to do so by organizing potlucks, so that the wives of the members of MAPA could also participated. Marieta expressed this idea by stating, "I started asking, saying that we needed a women's auxiliary, so we got involved, started bringing in the wives instead of just the men. Then we had a women's meeting and that's when we started giving the dinners and potlucks at the house."16 Just like Ray, Marieta became also became the president of the Hayward MAPA chapter in the 1960's.
Like the MAPA chapter that occurred in the 1960's through the 1980's, the Hayward Latino community founded an organization called Chicanos/Latinos Democratic Club of Southern Alameda County (CALDO) in 2003. The CALDO officers consist of: Miram Warren (president), José Francisco Zermeño (vice-president), Sarah Gonzales (second vice-president), Mark Salinas (secretary), Paul Frumkin III (treasurer), and Gene Calderon (membership). CALDO's propose is to discuss public policy that affect the Latino community with the emphasis on education, practice political education with youth and immigrant newcomers, to promote the Latino participation in politics, prepare and recruit future Latino/Chicano leaders, as well as other things.17
Having Latino organizations in the political environment is crucial for the diversification of the community. It is obvious that Anglo-Saxons dominate and are more involved when it comes to politics than any other race. Having more than one ethnic race to voice out the needs of the community is vital. It is important to have organizations as leaders of the Latino community in order to represent the Latino population that is afraid, embarrassed to be involved, uninterested, or does not understand of politics.
When the Latino community observes the involvement and success that organizations like CALDO have, they will be motivated to participate in politics and/or their community. As we have seen with CALDO, the increase involvement in the political environment is another demonstration that Latinos play an important role in Hayward.

Community
The Latino community is growing lager every year with more immigrants coming from Latin America. Mexicans are the largest population of Latin Americans that arrive in Hayward---prominently form Michoacan and Jalisco, Mexico. The largest waves of Mexican immigration to the Hayward area occurred during World War II, when Mexicans were allowed to work in the United States. The braceros, or laborers, program was meant to fuel the economy while soldiers were away. With this in effect, it allowed the Latino community to evolve.18
With the flight of immigration to the city of Hayward, many immigrants decided to stay due to their prosperity in their living and working conditions. Even though many Latinos come from Latin America to the United States in search of economic stability, many are nostalgic of their homelands. This cause of isolation becomes inevitable due to the new environment and, in most case, unfamiliarity of the English language.
Fortunately, the idea of isolation for many immigrants can convert to alleviation and happiness due to the many cultural festivities that occur in Hayward annually. During the month of September, Hispanic heritage month, many festivities occur in celebration of the independences of Mexico and Central America. Organizations like, the Alianza de Hayward, contribute in the education and celebration of Latino culture.
In 2001, the Alianza de Hayward sponsored the making of a plaque of the famous farm worker-activist Cesar Chavez. The community gathered to celebrate the 125th birthday of Hayward and the death of Chavez, who visited Hayward several times during his career. In remembrance of Chavez, Hayward artist, Fernando Hernandez, and San Ramon artist, Incoronata Molino, created the plaque that is mounted at the Hayward public library.19
Due to the leadership that Cesar Chavez exercised in the Bay Area, the Hayward School District has allowed the 31st of March---Chavez's birthday---to be a holiday. Festivities that celebrate significant Latino events, like the independence of Latin American countries, bring unity in the Latino community as well as others. Since we live in an ethnically diverse country, it is necessary to recognize days and civic leaders of the community in order to educate society. Francisco Zermeño elucidates this idea by expressing, "We need to teach others who are not Latinos about our [Latino] culture so that they are not afraid of us."20
As Zermeño expressed, we should allow ourselves to explore other cultures that are unknown to us. This learning process allows us to be tolerant of other races different of our own---this is the beauty of society. With the assistance of Latino community leaders and organization like the Alianza de Hayward, the education of the Latino culture is a necessary element since the roles of Latinos, in many different sectors of Hayward, is growing.
Conclusion
Throughout the decades, the city of Hayward has drastically changed in many aspects. What was once property of a wealthy Mexican citizen became the home of many immigrants from different parts world for years to come. As the population grew over the years, the minority class that would start to dominate the Hayward area was Latinos.
Latinos soon exercised many roles in areas of education, economy, politics, and community in the city of Hayward. Prominent organizations and clubs arose in Hayward due to the wake of the Civil Rights Movement. With the affiliation of Latinos in organizations, it allowed them to feel included in the community and gave them strength to prosper in education, business, jobs, and leadership.
With their involvement in Hayward, they have contributed to the prosperity of the city. People like Francisco Zermeño, Mark Salinas, Ray and Marieta Solis, as well as many others, have dedicated their lives for the success and involvement of Latinos in education, businesses, politics, and the community. These accomplishments have allowed the growth of the population of Latinos in Hayward to increase. Many Latinos are proud that Hayward is their home where they have the opportunity to be educated, be involved in public issues, exercise their entrepreneurship, and gather as a family to celebrate their happiness.
As a network, Latinos have aided themselves and other ethnic people in many different areas of Hayward. Even though there are some people who discriminate and are not content with the accomplishments that Latinos have given to themselves and to Hayward community, Latinos will continue to arise beyond the city. These stories are just a glimpse of what is yet to come. Due to their active participation and successes in Hayward, Latinos play a vital role that benefits all of the people who are a part of Hayward.

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