Born to 1st generation Dominican and Salvadoran parents and forever inspired by their perseverance to work and family, I uphold the legacy of resistance associated with the ancestors of my parents. I am a product of the Bronx public education system k-12 and the CUNY system; having graduated from Hostos Community College and Lehman College. In relation to the grassroots movement and necessity to learn the history of Puerto Rico and Latin American countries, to prevent it from being whitewashed in the classroom, I decided to acquire my bachelor’s in arts in Latino/Puerto Rican Studies. I am grateful to have learned the history of CUNY students organizing for open admissions, transforming CUNYs bilingual education and multi-literacy programs. These multicultural transformations are central to CUNYs history and the importance in relation to working class enclaves of migrant ethnic minority communities in NYC. The content of each course undertaken and understanding the value of Ethnic Studies for working class communities, persuaded me to become a global history/socials studies educator. These experiences here resonate with the habit of mind: Remaining open to continues learning because I learned to appreciate learning alongside others which is effective at avoiding complacency in my thinking.
At the age of 13 is when I began to become engaged in politics by participating in grassroots organizing work. An interest that began with my cousin inviting me to attend a meeting that was serving free pizza. Since middle school I participated in community and city school-wide campaigns, working towards improving the socio-economic conditions for low-income working-class residents of the Bronx. Overtime the exposure of organizing along with the global politics of the time, ever so determining my material conditions, contributed to my political consciousness, furthering my understanding of the fundamental contradictions of capitalism. These experiences I believe resonate with the habit of mind: Listening with understanding and empathy because it is their stories and methods in organizing for self-determination, that taught me to humble their immiseration under U.S. capitalism.
“Theory without practice is pedantic, just as practice without theory leads to foolhardy endeavors”. That is why I believe to confront the needs of today according to the appropriate social conditions, it is imperative to undertake the anti-capitalist perspective in the classroom. Meritocracy and individualized careerist aspirations are an injustice to NYC working-class public-school students. Bridging theory and practice into methods of action in the hands of the masses, like NYC public school students, demands an emphasis on a structural historical analysis examining the relations of domination and the dialectical relationships between race, class, and gender. Such practice encourages students so understand the problem of racism, capitalism, and settler colonialism in the U.S..
In relation to their methods of organizing and struggle for dignity and the right to self-determination, the interest of the hegemonic bourgeois state power in the U.S. will be an opposing force every step of the way. The recent proposal by the mayor Eric Adams to cut the Education budget by $469 million cannot be more convincing. Black, Latino, and other oppressed ethnic minority students need to possess the ability to talk about the concrete material conditions of intersectional inequalities in the U.S. social order: race, class, gender, and national oppression; in ways that are useful and liberatory. These experiences of transferring knowledge according to new material conditions resonate with the habit of mind: Applying past knowledge to new situations. I say this because I still view myself as student to the world and recognize the necessity of thinking dialectically to understand a world in constant motion and social upheaval.
I am impressed by your post, “Become Who You Are” because you have put in so much effort to learn and preserve much about Latino history. I feel like people should want to know about their history as well.
One sentence that you wrote that stands out to me is “Born to 1st generation Dominican and Salvadoran parents and forever inspired by their perseverance to work and family, I uphold the legacy of resistance associated with the ancestors of my parents”. I think this is really cool because many people wouldn’t go through the trouble of preserving their family’s history.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because the insight into your personal life and your heritage was interesting. Seeing how you overcame your struggles to achieve what you wanted is inspiring.