This week, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously approved promoting Latino/a/x Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The September-October period covers a wide range of Independence Days for Latin American countries such as Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Chile.
This time period also celebrates the historic and cultural contributions of the Latino/a/x community and acknowledges their influence on politics, the economy and society. Further, it honors the spirit and struggle for self-determination, dignity and respect for cultural heritage.
With 73.8 percent of the district’s elementary and secondary students identifying as Latino/a/x, Los Angeles Unified encourages all students, faculty, administrators and parents to celebrate the cultural contributions of the Latino community.
“We see an opportunity for learning, leading and loving who we are and why access, equity and justice matters every single day,” Board Member Mónica García, the sponsor of the resolution, said. “The Latino/a/x history and future are connected to Los Angeles Unified’s struggles and success. Our students are counting on us. Si se puede Los Angeles Unified! Adelante!”
“Latino/a/x Heritage Month is another time to honor, celebrate, embrace and learn the histories, cultures and contributions of people from across the diaspora,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III, an original co-sponsor, said. “It is my hope that the study of Latino/a/x history and culture will illuminate the intersections, commonalities and shared experiences that we have as people of color. As we recognize their achievements, we inspire our students to succeed.”
All board members signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution.
“Latino Heritage Month is a celebration of the culture and contributions made by Latino Americans, and remains critical to ensuring our students see themselves reflected in our curriculum and commemorations,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Over 73% of Los Angeles Unified students identify as Latino and I am excited to expand the knowledge of all of our students as they learn more about Latino leaders and changemakers in Los Angeles and across the nation.”
“As a young Latina growing up in the San Fernando Valley, I would have loved to see myself and my culture reflected in my school curriculum more often,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “Today, I’m proud to be part of a District that recognizes the importance of celebrating the history, rich cultural heritages and contributions of the diverse Latino community, and that our students can celebrate their culture and learn about the Latino leaders who helped shape our country.”
“We are proud to recognize the vibrant contributions and rich culture that our Latino/a/x communities have woven into the fabric of the United States for generations,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “Los Angeles is especially lucky to have so much of that influence inextricably linked to our city’s history, and we will continue to promote new lessons and experiences for our students to celebrate Latino/a/x Heritage Month.”
“I am proud to celebrate Latino/a/x Heritage Month and encourage the commemoration of the historical and cultural contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community and of their ancestors throughout California and the United States,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “At Los Angeles Unified, 73.8 percent of students identify as Latino. This month, all of our students will have an opportunity to reflect on our Latino history and learn about past and present Latino leaders that have made a difference in our nation.”
“Latinx Heritage Month lets us explore the fantastic Latinx culture and the many contributions this community has made here in America — and throughout the world,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “We all get to learn more about the heritages of the more than 20 Latin American countries and territories represented by our Los Angeles Unified students!”
“I’m proud to honor Latino/a/x Heritage Month, celebrating the culture and contributions of not only three-fourths of our Los Angeles Unified students who identify as Latino/a/x, but also the past, present and future of Los Angeles more broadly,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “In public education, it’s crucial to provide authentic instructional and extra-curricular opportunities for our students to learn about themselves, each other, and their community. ¡Que viva!”
“It is of the utmost importance to celebrate the contributions and achievements of our Latino/a/x leaders who have contributed in uplifting and providing a voice and positive role modeling for our communities,” Local District East Superintendent Jose P. Huerta said. “During Latino/a/x Heritage Month, we salute our Latino/a/x leaders, elected officials, artists, scientists, advocates and educators who inspire all students to dream and to achieve. As educators, we strive to develop more Jaime Escalantes, Ellen Ochoas, Cesar Chavez’, Sal Castros and Sonia Sotomayors to elevate and reaffirm our Latino/a/x communities.”
“This month is about celebrating our rich culture and promoting identity affirming learning experiences for Latin/x students in each classroom,” Local District Central Superintendent Frances Baez said.
“We can learn challenging math concepts and learn about the formulas involved in building the pyramids in Teotihuacan, the Inca Citadel in Machu Pichu, the Mayan Pyramids and the many structures that make up our ancestral lands. Latin/x Heritage Month is about moving us closer to reaching self-actualization.”