As a resident of Salt Lake City for over 30 years, and as a special education teacher for the Salt Lake City School District for 17 years, I’ve seen the demographics of our state, city, and schools change and grow. The diversity in our cities and schools which were not there when I was growing up in Taylorsville, have added a new vibe and spirit. Yes, we’ve come a long way, with Spanish speaking television stations, radio stations, businesses who cater to culturally diverse communities, and most recently, Latino political leaders, but there’s still a way to go. There is still yet to be a movement, a growth in education leadership to be had not only for children of color but also teachers of color. I know being a Latina teacher makes a positive impact on the students of color I teach. Yes, I can build strong relationships with their parents which benefits the students, the school and the community, but as a Latina teacher, I can access and incorporate their background into my teaching. This is important not only because students become more engaged in their learning, “make it their own”, but also because it comes from someone who looks like them. My students know I was just like them once and if I can grow up to be a professional so can they.
As UEA’s Ethnic Minority Director, I would make it a priority to recruit more ethnically diverse individuals to enter the education field, and for those who are already teachers in our schools, encourage them to become involved in visible leadership positions. As stakeholders, I believe it is important to become involved, to be visible, and to advocate for those who need a voice. As UEA’s Ethnic Minority Director I would like to facilitate just that.