Meet our
"Faces of HSS"

Civic Engagement.

Working to make a difference in the life of our communities and developing the knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference. Promoting quality of life in a community through both political and non-political processes.

Social Justice.

Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, resources, opportunities, and privileges within a society.

Global Awareness

An understanding of the impact that environmental, social, cultural, political, and economic issues have on the world based on an applicable knowledge of global and cultural perspectives.

Sergio Adrian Torres

Liberal Studies Major, Chicano Studies Minor

"Many people in my community of Santa Ana do not learn about Mexican/Chicano history through history books; they learn about it through art murals," explains Sergio Torres. Torres's senior research project explores and analyzes these murals as part of Native-descended Chicanx peoples' culture in Santa Ana. In Southern California, Murals that blend Indigenous heritage with contemporary Mexican American/Chicano culture inspire Chicanx youth to connect to their Indigenous roots and reflect on the meaning of their identities. The Mexican mural movement, or Mexican muralism, began as a government-funded form of public art. Murals showcase social and political messages as part of efforts to unify people and create conversations.

"I want people to know that public street art is a powerful way to preserve lifestyles, a way to build community, and a way to start conversations about social and political events."

Born and raised in Santa Ana, Torres knew of the murals growing up. "We have a lot of murals in Santa Ana. He has spent two semesters adding images to his project, saying, "I bought a camera, got in my car, and cruised around the city. People think that the art is centralized in downtown Santa Ana, but I expanded my search outside of the downtown area. I interviewed artists. I interviewed city officials to get the feel of the art scene. Ironically, there is a disconnection between artists and the city. The city says that they promote local artists. Local artists say the opposite."

Torres hopes to publish his catalog of the art of the city of Santa Ana online. The first section will showcase past artists and murals that have stood the test of time. The second part will present contemporary mural art, emphasizing Mexican/ChicanX inspired art and artists. The last part of the catalog will help encourage new mural art in Santa Ana by creating new opportunities for art around Santa Ana. Torres is searching for funding to make his online catalog a reality with his friend majoring in computer science.

Emigdio Vasquez painted over 30 public murals in central Orange County. The most recognized mural of Emigdio's is the "Legacy of Cesar Chavez," located in the lobby of the Cesar Chavez Business and Computer Center in Santa Ana College. Some of Emigdio's favorite subjects were the subculture of Chicanos and Mexican-Americans, including zoot suits and Pachucos and street people and day laborers that reflected a time in history.

There is life after death in Santa Ana. Several murals mark the place of death due to gang violence. Murals, candles, flowers, and religious items are left in honor of the fallen, allowing communities and families to heal. These also serve to bring attention to gang violence and perhaps help stop the violence.

Art in Santa Ana is a mix of old and new. Current hard-hitting topics like the death of Vanessa Marquez and Kobe Bryant now permeate the city. Artists also took to the streets and painted Covid-19 and BLM-related art.

Torres's dream is to return to Santa Ana as a professional Chicano. I want to give back to my community by being an academic advisor, counselor, or to support student success. A unique skill I have is my ability and passion for organizing community-building events. My faculty advisor, Angeles Sancho-Velazquez, Ph.D., has given me excellent guidance."


Sergio Torres with Murals