A Tribute to Rudy Acuna by Anthony Valadez

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To mark the opening of La Plaza, the first museum dedicated to the story of Mexican Americans in LA, we’ve asked a few of our DJs to talk about their own experiences, including DJ Anthony Valadez.

“I remember taking Chicano Studies at Cal State Northridge and always gravitating towards professors who engaged with the classroom and invited discussion.

Sure, we thought we knew it all at 21 and 22, but there was always one professor that stood out from rest.

Professor Rudy Acuna is considered to be “The Father Of Chicano Studies.” I remember my colleagues and I arrived early to get the best seat to hear his lectures, which consisted of his first hand experiences as a Chicano activist and the Cultural Identity of the “Chicano”.  If he caught you dozing off, expect chalk to be thrown at your desk.

At the end of the semester, when most students sell back their books, I noticed all the students of Rudy Acuna kept their copies of Occupied America (which he wrote), signed by the man himself.  My most memorable moment was during finals when on the sheet of questions, there at the very top were the lyrics to Tina Turner’s anthem “Simply The Best“.

Rudy taught me the importance of art and leaving a mark on society that contributes to something positive for my community.  I knew that I wanted to incorporate that in my own way — utilizing music and art to empower youth for social change.  Shortly after, I began teaching DJ workshops to students at Sylmar High and at Tia Chucha’s Cultura Cafe Cultural in the San Fernando Valley.  And it was all due to the seed planted in my brain by Rudy Acuna.

– Anthony Valadez