February 04, 2019
The following article is from Forbes
You are a revolutionary. We are all revolucionarios. You just don't know it yet.
No one ever told me this when I was young. When I was young, I was told not to speak my family's native language. I was led to believe that college was not for people like me, and that quiet people like me are better off remaining silent and staying out of the way. I am not here to simply tell you that you are a revolutionary but to help you realize your strengths, examine areas for growth, and to help you develop skills so that you can move forward with your dreams and make a revolutionary change for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.
I see you out there:
I know you have insecurities about your struggles to be bilingual and bicultural. 30% of Milwaukie students are Latino, and I know you've asked the questioned: should I be more "white"? Should I be more "Latino"? What does that mean anyhow? Why can't I just be me? I have that same struggle too—still to this day—but I am learning, too, that we are perfect the way that we are even if our Spanish isn't perfect. That struggle is the reason why we created Ascensión Milwaukie, a Latinx/Chicanx leadership group dedicated to creating and promoting positive academia, cultura, and lifestyle. It's a group that won 3 of 4 categories at the statewide Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Conference in its first year; a group that placed 50 percent of its graduates in 4-year universities and 100 percent in a community college or university, both exceeding our school's averages.
I know that equity and diversity is more than the color of your skin or your biological birth sex. I know that it is the combination—the intersectionality—of these things, and so much more. That's why your story is important, and making time to listen to each other is valuable and needed. Especially now, when it appears that society lacks empathy towards individuals that don't meet the standard definition of caucasian, heterosexual, male or female, and why we have worked so hard to produce school-wide lessons to make diversity, intersectionality, equity, and respect a part of our daily conversations.
I know that your introverted nature makes it a daily struggle to operate in class like a "normal" student. Society tells us that we need to be loud, be confident, be open (exposed), be able to speak in front of an audience, and get straight A's while doing it, if we want to make it in life. I know because I was just like you. I didn't get straight A's. I'm still learning how to embrace my inner introvert and how to be an extrovert when needed. I know that you will make it in life and be even greater because you will have the "bi-cultural" gift, skills, and talents of an ambivert.
I know you are uncertain about your future because you will be a first generation college student. I know because only 20 percent of our graduates go on to a 4-year university and fewer than 60 percent of our graduates will attend any type of college. We know you have the capability, but that you lack the familiarity. That's why it's part of the comprehensive counseling program to do a Myers Briggs inventory with each of you when forecasting and exploring future options. It's why Milwaukie has the largest college and career fair in our district. It's why I coordinate college field trips for AVID and the ECMC Scholars programs and have volunteered to drive the minibus to various campuses. No one ever showed me what the future could be like, but we make certain you have the ability to access this information.
Not only do I see you. I believe in you and work hard with you. When you needed space and time, I shared my office with you. When you needed to fundraise, I worked next to you. When you marched in demonstration, I marched with you. When you needed to dance, bailamos. Because together we are creating the revolution of making our world a better place and bringing pride to our community in the process.