History: Pre-Founding Period

1988 - 1991

In the mid-1980s, two ambitious young men named Rogelio Bolaños and Francisco Huerta met and became good friends at Alisal High School in Salinas, California. However, they parted ways when Francisco graduated in 1988 and enrolled in San Jose State University (SJSU). In college, Francisco joined a Latino student organization dedicated to promoting cultural awareness, organizing political activism, and demanding equal educational rights for all students.

Francisco was later elected president of the organization's chapter at SJSU. Although he had the opportunity to lead the fight for equality, he felt something very important was missing. While all of the group's members were actively involved in their community, many of them struggled to cope with the constant pressures of college life. Francisco knew that substantial changes needed to be made to the organization's structure.

Obrero Monument
An obrero monument at San Jose State
University. Many of the founders grew up in
agricultural towns in California where their
parents worked in the fields.

His proposed solution was to create an environment that would embrace the spirit of true brotherhood, a group whose members would focus on supporting each other academically, socially, and personally first, and then handle the larger issues that affected their community. Unfortunately, the majority of his peers were resistant to change and rejected the idea completely.

Meanwhile, in the summer of 1991, several young men met through the Summer Bridge Program right before their freshman year at SJSU. These students included Ramiro Rocha, José Villarreal, Francisco Bustamante, and Ralph Covarrubias. The program, designed to help students transition from high school to college, influenced Francisco Huerta's opinion on what the ideal student organization should emphasize: to ensure that its members have the skills, knowledge, and support they need to graduate from college.

Rogelio Bolaños and Francisco Huerta were reunited in the fall of 1991 when Rogelio, now a sophomore at SJSU, visited the university's EOP Office (Educational Opportunity Program) where Francisco, now a senior, worked as a student assistant. The EOP is an undergraduate program in California that helps financially and socially disadvantaged students gain access to college.

From then on, the two carnales were inseparable. Both political science majors with an absolute passion for education, they would eagerly discuss issues pertaining to their university campus and community. When their points of view would conflict, which was often, the heated arguments could last till late at night at one of their apartments or local Denny's.

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