SAN ANTONIO — Their story is a familiar one. Children brought to the United States to seek a better life than in Mexico. Three high school students turned their experience into a club hoping to make a difference.
“We’re were talking about it and were like I wish that we had this club where we can debate about what’s going on in the world,” Katia Ortega said.
Ortega, Ashleigh Ibarra and Michelle Medina founded the Mexican American Society (M.A.S.) this year to give voice to their culture at IDEA Public schools South Flores.
“We wanted to bring out a safe environment for the students and also raise awareness through the community,” Ibarra said.
The club seeks to raise awareness through its pillars of community, education, advocacy and service.
“As we got older we started to realize more things,” Medina said. “Since we’ve been here we know that our families felt excluded in meetings.”
The girls have always had the feeling of living in two worlds. Ortega was brought to the United States by her parents when she was two years old.
Ibarra’s parents brought her to the US when she was 11. Medina came to America when she was four. Life was about overcoming language barriers, trying to connect their parents to educational experience and trying to surpass stereotypes.
“Here in the United States, it’s often like being oppressed because of stereotypes,” Medina said.
M.A.S. seeks to bridge gaps and break down walls for the Latin community.
“We’re not just Mexican. We’re not just Hispanic,” Ortega said. “We’re also Latin X.”
They gave birth to their club in Biology class. Since that time M.A.S. has put on several events including a 5k run with a sidebar to registers classmates to vote. They got 16 seniors to register.
The club operates from three branches: Political, emotional and social.