Latinx Summit aims to offer healing spaces, joyful experiences to participants

Every spring, ETHS hosts a series of summits centered around identity as part of the ETHS Social Consciousness series. This spring, the Latinx Student Summit will be held on Wednesday, April 27. Keeping in line with the other summits that have happened this year, the theme for the Latinx Student Summit is joy. 

“I want people to feel that they are represented, I want people to feel like they as if they were at home with their family,” sophomore Grace Juarez explained, reflecting on the purpose of the summit. 

Students who attend the summit will have the opportunity to participate in a number of workshops centered around activities including cooking, dancing, art and a panel discussion on post-high school opportunities. 

“[It is about] enjoying our culture and not really hiding behind, you know, white supremacy, and so it’s just us enjoying who we are, demonstrating our cultures and the different types of food, the different traditions that we do and some of the things that we have to face in the world,” Juarez elaborated. 

Ahead of the event, Latinx students and staff were invited to join the planning committee in order to help create the workshops and expand on the theme of joy. Part of the planning process involved finding a speaker from the Latinx community to kick off the event in the morning. This year, Kat Lazo, a producer, director and host of the podcast “The Kat Call”  was chosen as the speaker based on her work breaking down taboos and debunking misconceptions about the Latinx community. 

In addition to planning speakers and organizing the workshops, students on the planning committee have signed up to help facilitate the individual workshops. 

“I personally want to help out with the Latino identity workshop… I think the Latinx identity workshop can really help… We know that no matter what generation you are, you will always be Latinx, it doesn’t matter if you’re connected to your culture or not, they’re always Latinx,” junior Edward Medina said, explaining his choice in which workshop he hopes to facilitate.

In previous years, there has been discussion among students who attended the summit that it was focused too heavily on some Latinx identities over others. This year, facilitators and organizers hope to change that sentiment by making a larger effort to ensure every Latinx identity is honored. 

Two key ways the organizers hope to achieve this is by including food from a wider range of Latin American countries, rather than solely Mexico and Puerto Rico, as in previous years. Student and staff organizers also opted to honor students’ Latinx heritage by providing buttons representing every Latin American country. 

“We want to include every Latinx country, so what we decided is that once you sign in and sign in [for the summit] with your name and everything, you’re actually going to go [pick] buttons that show what Latin or Latino country you’re from,” Medina explained. “So that’s how we [plan to] incorporate more people. We’ve also decided on more food options from different Latin American countries.”

Although the event isn’t set to happen until the end of April, student and staff organizers are already looking forward to the summit. 

“I want people to take away that there’s this community of Latinx people,” Medina concluded. “There’s this community for them, and there’s this group of teachers [and] everyone here for the Latinx students.”