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Celebrating Latino/a Heritage Month in Los Angeles Unified in 2021 (9-14-2021)


News Release

For Immediate Release                                                                                                       Date: September 14, 2021

Contact: Jennifer Valdivia

(213) 414-4812,                                                      

Celebrating Latino/a Heritage Month in Los Angeles Unified in 2021

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 14, 2021) – The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously approved and co-sponsored promoting Latino Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. With nearly 74 percent of Los Angeles Unified’s student population characterizing themselves as Latino/a, and 60.6 million people in the United States identifying as Latino/a as of July 1, 2019, this month is a time to honor the spirit and struggle for self-determination of the Latino/a community. By adopting this resolution, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education and Superintendent encourage all students, faculty, administrators and parents to commemorate the historic, influential and cultural contributions of the Latino/as throughout the United States.

This resolution sponsored by Board Member Mónica García, was co-sponsored by the rest of the board.

“During Latinx Heritage Month, we honor the historical contributions, the vibrant cultures and the rich diversity of everyone with origins from Spanish-speaking countries in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly said. “At Los Angeles Unified, nearly three-quarters of our students identify as Latinx and we are excited to celebrate this important month.”

"This time of reflection and celebration allows us to pay tribute to our beautiful culture, made up of diverse experiences, fluorescent colors, spicy and flavorful dishes, rich music, a love for learning and so much more,” said Board Member Monica Garcia, the 3rd Latina elected to the Board of Education in its 155-year history. “As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants who met in Los Angeles Unified, I wish for all students to be learners and leaders in respecting and recognizing the strength of diversity in our multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual community. I welcome every school to celebrate the rich history of our culture, our struggles and the trailblazing moments that have contributed to a great Los Angeles, CA, and USA of today."

“I’m honored to cosponsor this resolution and celebrate Latino Heritage Month across our school district. This month is an opportunity for us to reflect more deeply on the stories and rich contributions of Latinos to Los Angeles and to the history and culture of America. Latino Heritage Month helps us lift up the stories of those who too often have been erased from our history and promote pride in our Latino communities,” Board President Kelly Gonez said.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution recognizing the contributions and influence of Latinx Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States—especially in Los Angeles where we are so lucky to have so much of that influence inextricably linked with the history and culture of our city. As with so many lessons in our country’s history, we also must continue to understand and unpack problematic narratives surrounding what we know, or think we know, about the diverse and multi-layered history and experiences of our Latinx communities,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said

“Latinx Heritage Month highlights the history, the culture and the accomplishments of our families, friends, neighbors and especially our students and staff who share similar roots,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “We also celebrate the diversity, which includes the 25 percent of U.S. Latinos who identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America.” 

“It is an honor to celebrate the historic, cultural, social and political contributions of the Latino/a/x community,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Let us remember that the State of California and our shared values were shaped by the challenges and struggles our ancestors overcame so we could achieve success.”

“The Latino/a/x impact on our society is profound because of the community’s many historic and cultural contributions that impact every aspect of our lives—from perspectives to politics to art,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. Celebrating Latino/a/x heritage across the District on all of our campuses not only provides us opportunity to learn more about these contributions, but gives all a chance to recognize the unique challenges faced by the Latino/a/x community and support the more than 70% of our Los Angeles Unified student body identifying as Latino/a/x.

"Today’s resolution honors the rich cultural, historical and educational contributions of the Latinx community that have enriched the culture, transformed the history and prepared the future of not only Los Angeles Unified School District, but our city, state and country," Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. "I’m proud to assert our district’s commitment toward ensuring our Latinx scholars, staff and family feel celebrated and inspired every day."

"Latin/x Heritage Month launches a new year of deepening our understanding of the significant contributions of Latin/x in the City, State and Nation. We inspire the next generation of pioneers who will break through barriers to ensure that our cultural capital and funds of knowledge continue to add to the tapestry of our society,” Local District Central Superintendent Frances Baez said.

“Given that nearly 75% of our student population in Los Angeles Unified are of Latino/a decent, it is important that we not only recognize but celebrate the cultural heritage and contributions of our communities,” Local District East Superintendent Jose P. Huerta said. “We salute all of our Latino/a leaders, elected officials, artists, scientists, advocates and educators who continue to inspire us to dream and to achieve. Latino/a/x Heritage Month is celebrated every day in Local District East.”

“Belmont High School invites you to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with us! We are proud to showcase the diversity that all our students bring and the strength and resilience of our school community,” Belmont High School Principal Dr. Elsa Mendoza said. “Through the arts, science, math and literature we express our dreams, aspirations and hope. Latinos are ingrained in the fabric of this great nation, and we must continue to reflect on the past to remember who and where we came from, prepare for the extraordinary possibilities of the future and act on the values our ancestors ingrained in all of us of hard work, compassion and love. Close to our centennial birthday, we still enter to learn and go forth to serve our communities. Si Se Puede! Go Sentinels!”

“El mes patrio trae muchos recuerdos nostálgicos, pero es momento de hacer recuerdos mas fuertes. La sangre Latina corre por nuestras venas, y en un país diferente al de todos nosotros, la unión es nuestro mas grande legado,” dijo Linda Pérez, estudiante de noveno grado de Belmont High School.

“Latino/a/x Month brings many nostalgic memories, but it is time to make stronger ones. Latin blood runs through our veins, and in a country different from ours, Union is our greatest legacy,” 9th grade Belmont High School student, Linda Perez, said. 

“Our skin color, our accent when we speak, our features, the spicy and delicious recipes that are known around the world, the beautiful nature that makes us LATINOS/AS/X!” Associated Student Body Member of Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, Aisha Rivera Campos, said. “We have to acknowledge our heritage, embrace our roots and show the world that we are proud of who we are because we are LATINOS/AS/X! For all our ancestors that taught and brought us this amazing and colorful culture, different languages, but most important the honor to be proud LATINOS/AS/X! This month is important to celebrate because many countries in Latin America celebrate their independence, a month that we can celebrate and recognize the hard work that our families did, and as a proud Latina, I always show where I came from, and this month would just make it more special for me,”

“This resolution helps to reaffirm the identity of all Los Angeles Unified Latino/a/x students, staff and community members, especially during a time where many of them continue to organize nationally to advocate for the implementation of an ethnic studies curriculum,” Edward R. Roybal Learning Center Principal Blanca Cruz said. “Historically, the Latino/a/x lived experience has been minimized in the classroom despite the community’s advocacy in making it a centerpiece of learning and engagement. In fact, our students have never consistently been exposed to the counter-narratives that highlight and uplift their contributions to our community, nation and world. Thus, this resolution is not only a step towards the healing that is needed as we work to recognize the importance of the Latino/a/x identity and heritage, but also is a significant move towards supporting our students’ success as we provide them meaningful opportunities to gain a better understanding of their culture, stories and themselves.”