We can all agree that education is important for ourselves and for future generations, even though we can’t seem to agree on much after that part. We argue over school choice, teacher pay, state testing and curriculum, and sometimes it feels like we will never get to a place that actually centers the positive identity development of our youth. So, in honor of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, allow me to explain why positive identity development is so important to me as a Latina.
I truly believe that if more of our education system was focused on helping us learn about who we are, where we come from, and how to love ourselves that we might be living in a very different world than we are today. For a long time, I moved through life feeling like I was not enough. I felt like I just didn’t fit in many spaces, and school was one of the main places where I often felt like I didn’t fit. When I went to school I didn’t see myself in the teachers or the curriculum.
It wasn’t until college when I started taking more Latin American history and social history of the United States courses that I began to unlearn so much of the harmful and untrue history that is taught in American schools.
As I mentioned earlier, its currently Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, which begins on September 15th and ends on October 15th. This month, and all months, I implore you to share positive reinforcement of how people of color have and continue to shape the world.
Our youth deserve to learn the truth and they deserve to see themselves positively represented in their teachers, principals, school board members, and textbooks. I also want to hear more educated conversations about how my state, Louisiana, is quickly filling up prisons with immigrants who are simply seeking to thrive, work hard, pay taxes (yes, undocumented immigrants pay taxes), and raise their families in a country that has sold the “American Dream” to generations.
In a conversation about education, I’d be remiss if I didn’t teach something to you in this brief post and so many of my neighbors and friends are unaware of the fact that our state is about to surpass Texas in the number of detainees being held here.
On a brighter side, today and always I am a proud Latina, dedicated to creating spaces for positive identity development, inclusion, and social justice. All that I am is because of where I come from and who I come from, just like all of you.