Race is a synonym for ethnicity. And so begins the discourse. I have been involved in the issue of diversity since being born a Latina in the United States. Educated and living in the Midwest my entire life, I have experienced challenges that had to do with my ethnicity. What makes people racist; why do people have privilege and stereotypes; where do these forms of beliefs and cognitions originate? These are questions that led me to engage and to become involved in the task of changing paradigms in the world around me. As a result of my experiences, I have become an educator whose goal is to work on human diversity and inclusion in the world.
I have worked in higher education most of my professional career. Presently, I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology whose focus is the area of counseling psychology. As a therapist, I have witnessed the impact of racism, prejudice, classism, sexism etc. on the lives of individuals. As a professor in psychology, I have observed the impact of racism classism and prejudice in the lives of my students. And as employee in the field of education, I have also experienced many of these issues that require change and engagement.
For 13 years I have been a Professor at Truman College (Chicago) in the Transitional Bilingual Program for Latino Students in their first year experience. I am one of 5 professors who teach a cohort of Latino students for one academic year. The students come from Chicago Public High Schools having varied levels of English competencies. I assist them as they negotiate issues of acculturation, educational navigation, family, etc.
In addition, I serve as an a Faculty Advisor for Latino Students for Education where I support and assist Latino students in developing leadership skills, goals for higher education.
In terms of professional development for colleagues, I have worked on educating our school on the issues and implications of “being Latino”.
Presently, I am the Chair of the “Diversity and Inclusion Committee” at Truman College. This is the first group with the task of creating a more inclusive atmosphere within the City Colleges of Chicago. Within this groups our tasks are :