Campus junior Pedro De Anda Plascencia was surrounded by his friends at Nuestrapalooza, a club fair for the Latinx community, when he received a text notifying him that he won a seat on the ASUC Senate, 10 months after he lost in the original vote.
The ASUC elections and judicial council officially certified De Anda Plascencia on Feb. 11 as the candidate to replace former ASUC senator Jenny Jungmin Kim, who resigned in January. The results were certified through an elections countback, in which Kim and the other candidates who had opted not to participate in the retabulation were removed from the simulator, according to ASUC Elections Council Chair James Weichert.
Before the countback, the five potential candidates for the vacant seat were De Anda Plascencia, campus senior Yousef Moneer, campus junior Emily Fregoso, campus junior Leslie Vasquez Guzman and campus junior Eatone Chang.
“It’s not necessarily about having a seat; it’s about the access a seat can bring,” De Anda Plascencia said.
De Anda Plascencia, who was born in Mexico but grew up in southeast Los Angeles, is majoring in English and political science and plans to pursue a law degree post-graduation. He will represent the Latinx community, which previously lacked an explicit representative in this academic year’s senate class and is affiliated with the CalSERVE political party.
De Anda Plascencia said this lack of representation created a “disconnect” between the Latinx community and the student government, leaving members of the Latinx community less in tune with the ASUC’s activity. De Anda Plascencia said he hopes his experience as a Latinx person and the work done through his office would help bridge that gap.
“There was a lot of difficulties on the uncertainty with who would pick up a lot of the work,” De Anda Plascencia said. “My platforms are based on what has already been started (by previous Latinx senators).”
Plascencia’s specific platforms include an initiative to further campus’s efforts to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, a plan to host educational forums to increase awareness for students of color and improving the retention of and empowering Latinx students on campus.
In his three months in office, he hopes to work with campus administration and residence halls to advocate for a first-generation themed floor, as well as fundraise to create scholarship opportunities for Latinx students on campus and at Berkeley City College.
“Most importantly, I hope my Latinx community is proud of the work my office will do,” De Anda Plascencia said.
De Anda Plascencia said he is currently reaching out to Latinx organizations like the Latinx Caucus to collaborate. He will work on designing and hiring staff for his office in order to be fully functional in March.
ASUC Executive Vice President Andy Theocharous swore in De Anda Plascencia at the meeting Feb. 12, which was De Anda Plascencia’s first meeting as an elected official. De Anda Plascencia will take over Kim’s position on the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee, according to ASUC Chief Legal Officer Jedidiah Tsang.
“I feel like I wanted it for so long, but it was taken away,” De Anda Plascencia said on his senate position. “I feel like I can leverage a lot of ideas and the Latinx community.”