Celebrating Latino Heritage Month | Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, 2023
September 15, 2023
Dear Oakland Unified Community,
As of today, September 15, OUSD is celebrating our annual Latino Heritage Month with students, families, and staff across the District. By Board of Education resolution, the celebration lasts until October 15. Indigenous Latino students make up 47% of OUSD’s enrollment, and come from many countries spanning North, Central, and South America. Our diverse community includes many Indigenous cultures, languages and people who are seeing an increase in migratory patterns to the United States, and to the Bay Area, in particular. In all, there are 33 countries, including in the Caribbean, that comprise the rich and diverse peoples of our Indigenous Latino heritage.
The Latino community is diverse and holds unity and commonality with their Indigenous roots. For this reason, it is vital that we work towards finding commonalities, and the Indigenous connections we all hold to this land. We embrace connections and uplift our Indigenous and Afro-Latino identity and culture rooted in this continent, from the northern part of Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego.
Eve Delfin, who co-leads the District's Latino Student Achievement (LSA) Initiative alongside Raul Hernandez, explains the importance of Latino Heritage Month in this episode of Inside OUSD from last year.
Check out the video above in English, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese or Cambodian.
As we celebrate Latino Heritage Month, we want to uplift our cultures, histories, and people by immersing ourselves in the diversity of cultural and community events taking place this time of year. This celebration represents the withdrawal of Spanish colonization, and the independence of nations across the Americas.
Our Latino Student Achievement (LSA) specialists have curated a Latino Heritage Guide for sites as well as this Guide Highlight. We encourage staff to explore the resource links to supplement classroom learning, site-based activities, and possible events. In partnership with Oakland Latino Educators (OLE), we would also like to recognize OUSD Latino staff who have had a profound impact on our campuses and in our community. Please nominate a Latino staff member to be recognized with our OUSD Latino Staff Nomination Form.
Additionally, we want to recognize our new Maestr@s Pathway Program Participants who have pledged to teach in Oakland for a minimum of 5 years and be immersed in a Latino teacher affinity community of support towards their teaching credential. Please email Eve Delfín and Raul Hernandez at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Like every year, our celebration will include a Latino Read-In and other activities and events at various school sites, including an after hours Latino Staff Meet and Greet this evening, September 15, to kick off Latino Heritage Month in OUSD and to celebrate our Latino staff who serve our students every day.
Our September events have just begun but we will be planning other events throughout the month and the school year. We encourage everyone to make Latino Heritage Month visible, by posting their celebration photos on our social media. Tag us on facebook: @ousdnews and @LatinoStudentAchievement, and on instagram: @ousdnews and @oakland_lsa.
Here are some Latino Heritage Events taking place in our community for families to enjoy:
Check out upcoming school specific and district celebrations:
Sept. 14: Latino Heritage Month Celebration at Fremont High School
Sept. 23: Life Academy Latino Heritage Month Celebration Town Hall
Sept. 27: Celebrations at both Brookfield Elementary and Ralph Bunche Academy
Sept. 29: REACH Academy second annual Latino Read-In. Please contact Karina.Najera@ousd.org to volunteer to read a book to students.
Oct. 6: Korematsu Discovery Academy (KDA) Latino Heritage Celebration
Oct. 11: Grass Valley Elementary Latino Heritage Celebration
Oct. 21: College & Career Panel featuring Latino professionals scheduled at Oakland High School
Lastly, LSA is again partnering with the Oakland Public Education Fund on the annual Latino Read-In to bring family, staff and community volunteers into our classrooms (in person and virtually) to read books written by Latino authors. The Latino Read-In is scheduled for the week of October 2-6, and we welcome volunteers who would like to participate and read to our students, either in person or through Zoom. To sign up as a volunteer, click here.
We look forward to celebrating our students and staff at these events, and integrating Latino student and family cultural and linguistic assets into student learning and campus life every day.
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell