Movie screening honors fallen Latina actress

Jocelyn Arceo
Arts Editor

Vanessa Marquez, who played Ana Delgado in the movie “Stand and Deliver,” was killed by South Pasadena police during a wellness check on Aug. 30.

Cast member Patrick Baca, who played Javier in the film, described her character as soulful, with a sweet voice.

Cast member Will Gotay, who played Pancho, said she was much more outside the film.

“She was the quietest, so squirrelly and unassuming,” Gotay said. “That wasn’t her in real life, she was power. She was full forced, great, super creative and very talented and opinionated. Her strength stays with us because that’s what we remember.”

With the help of the Language and Culture Club, alumni relations and housing facilities, the cast members were able to honor Marquez with a screening of “Stand and Deliver” as well as a panel afterward Wednesday in La Fetra Auditorium.

The movie focuses on Jaime Escalante, an inner-city East Los Angeles teacher determined to help his students graduate and attend college.

Escalante persisted throughout the movie to help his students pass not only basic algebra, but math up to calculus as well. By doing this, the students were able to take the AP Exam so as to gain college credit.

Unfortunately, after passing the exam, the students were convicted of cheating in order to obtain their passing scores. The students had to take the exam again, in which they ended up passing a second time.

The events in the movie were all based on a true story, with Jaime Escalante being the actual teacher who helped the students in real life.

“We all learned so much from Escalante, and he changed all of our lives. It’s the ganas [desire],” Daniel Villarreal, who played Chuco, said. “He faithfully turned around a bunch of kids that would have never graduated from high school.”

The panel after the movie allowed for students to fill out slips of paper with their own questions on it. There were questions about the relevancy of the movie today and how to face oppression.

“I think it’s timeless. To me, the theme of the film is of hope, togetherness and triumph,” Gotay said. “I think that if somebody believes in you that really goes a long way to inspire you.”

A memorial for Marquez will be held Sunday in downtown Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. The memorial was described as a wellness check of their own by Baca.

“Being cast in stand and deliver was a blessing for all of us, but especially for Vanessa,” Gotay said. “It was wonderful for us to allow her enthusiasm, her spirit and her energy back then to spill onto us because ‘Stand and Deliver’ truly was her big break.”

Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at

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