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Oakland Schools News: OUSD Celebrates Latino Heritage Month

Oakland – In this Oakland Schools News, starting 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 of color make up 45 percent 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.

*All photos from 2019, pre-pandemic.
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.

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. Normally, we would celebrate with an opening community or school-site event that recognizes the importance of the September 15th/16th dates, which represent the withdrawal of Spanish colonization, and the independence of Latino nations across the Americas. As we are in challenging times, with COVID impacting our communities, we want to encourage families and schools to celebrate this important time of year in a safe way, keeping in mind all District, CDC, state, and county safety guidance.

Latino Student Achievement (LSA) specialists have curated a Latino Heritage Guide for sites. 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.

We would also like to encourage people who are interested in becoming credentialed teachers in the District to apply for our Maestr@s Latino Teacher Pathway Program, which provides support and a scholarship award towards the clear credential. Please email Eve Delfín at eve.delfin@ousd.org or Marisa Villegas at marisa.villegas@ousd.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 to celebrate our Latino staff who serve our students every day. Our September event reached maximum COVID safety capacity on the first day of the announcement, however, so we will be planning other events throughout the month and the school year.

LSA is again partnering with the Oakland Public Education Fund on the annual Latino Read-In to bring in family, staff and community volunteers into our classrooms (in person and virtually) to read books written by Latino authors. The Latino Read-In will be held from October 4-8, and we welcome volunteers who would like to participate and read to our students, either in person or through Zoom. Click here for more information about the Latino Read-In, Oct 4-8.

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!

Post based on press release from Oakland Unified School District to ZENNIE62MEDIA, Inc.

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