Amplify Madison – Xicanas Poderosas con una Misión

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Xicanas Poderosas con una Misión

An Amplify cohort has their photo taken at the YWCA in Madison, Wisconsin on March 1, 2019. Beth Skogen Photography –

We are a team of three passionate Latinas who come from diverse educational backgrounds and lifestyles. Yet, we have one common purpose: to dismantle systematic barriers which are marginalizing and inadequately engaging our high school Latinx youth. Our mission is to uphold culturally relevant engagement practices and spaces for the social and emotional development of our Latinx students within our public schools.

In order to dismantle the achievement gap of our Latinx students we need exposure to both qualitative and quantitative research upholding cultural relevant courses. As a result we selected to attend the Praxis Youth Organizing Conference and the XITO Institute (Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing) in Tucson, Arizona. These identified symposiums are equipped to help us acquire relevant pedagogy, practices relevant to education, student engagement and retention, precisely for Latinx students.

In return, we will facilitate professional development workshops for MMSD (or any other school district), participate in the Racial Justice Summit, as well as at the XIES Institute (Xicanx Institute for Education and Self Determination), a high school summer program. Our Latinx youth will become empowered as they are exposed to their history and are connected to their identity and disconnected roots. Thus, our youth will have an increased a sense of belonging to their school, community and educational needs. Having identified culturally relevant practices and courses our students will feel empowered. In our amazing team, we have

Silvia who is a Bilingual-Bicultural Resource Specialist with the MMSD, advisor for East High School’s Latinx Student Union, secretary for the Ballet Folklórico de María Díaz, and Co-founder and organizer for the Xicanx Institute for Education and Self Determination. Jossie is currently a Senior at East High School, on the leadership board for the Latinx Student Union, an AVID/TOPS student, and a Leader in Training for MSCR. Alejandra, is a Bilingual Student and Family Engagement Specialist in MCPASD. She is also the advisor for Latinos Unidos at Middleton High School and Kromrey Middle School. In addition, Alejandra helps develop programing to engage youth in k-12. Alejandra is also a student herself and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Counseling. We are the three Powerful Xicana educators!

Get to know Xicanas Poderosas con una Misión better

Please share about what sparked you all to submit your Amplify Madison proposal? What are some of the challenges you want to transform for yourselves and the Madison community?

Due to the lack of cultural events and traditions in Madison, many Chicanx teens are raised and forced to assimilate to the Midwest culture. Sometimes this happens without them being aware, but because of the “American Dream” way of thinking. Our Latinx youth are pressured to excel, to be hard workers, and sometimes that is at the expense of their cultural roots. It is not until attending conferences such as the CRECE conference by MEChA at the University of Madison, or the In Lak’ech conference by [Re]Generacion at Centro Hispano and hearing powerful guest speakers such as Jorge Rodriguez that students start questioning their own identity. The students start to wonder and ask why important historical events were not taught to them in school. Yes, there is Ethnic Studies but 2 weeks, or even 3 weeks of Latin America is not enough time to learn about their culture, much less the experiences and events that Chicanos have contributed to the history of the United States. Students have expressed their frustration at not learning enough about Latinos in the United States and their struggles and contributions. Many times it is short history lesson about the country itself but not about the people while in the US. Also, students expressed frustration about not having the opportunity to explore their identity or roots, mainly due to the lack of teachers that can teach these courses that are culturally competent. For theses reasons we decided to help, support and encourage to empower our youth in order for them to take action by giving them the necessary tools!

Please share about your experience collaborating across organizations for your Amplify experience – What are you learning about the nature of collaboration?

We have not had the opportunity yet to collaborate with other organizations. We are excited to participate in Amplified Madison and attend the XITO conference in July.

What is your team’s vision for Madison

Our vision for our Amplify Madison 2019, is to bring awareness to educators that teaching culturally relevant pedagogy will engage and support a student’s cultural, social and emotional development. We will offer culturally relevant strategies to the educational system in Dane County and surrounding communities. Our outcomes will include: decolonizing western teaching models; inspiring and engaging students as they learn of their own identity, culture, and history; and increase student academic achievement.

What has been your team’s experience in preparation to your professional development experience? What are some of the expectations you already have about the event, conference or other similar you are about to attend?

Our experience so far has been nerve wracking yet rewarding knowing that we are close to the date of our professional development and excited to share what we have learned in the Xicanx Institute as well as at other venues.

What has been your team’s experience during your professional development experience? What are some of the key knowledge, skills and learning you are bringing back to Madison?

We have not attended the XITO (Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing) yet as this professional development is not until July. However, we did attend the Praxis Youth Organizing conference and learned from many other organizations that having culturally relevant courses, such as Mexican American Studies and Chicano Studies, are beneficial and important to the education and outcomes of Latinx youth. Having these courses helps students feel acknowledged as they learn about their cultural history and important events that they otherwise never knew of. At the Praxis Youth Organizing Conference we also learned that bringing culture into the classrooms helps with easing anxiety, stress and the feeling of hopelessness as a student in predominantly white classes. We hope to bring back strategies to implement and knowledge to teach students and teachers, as well as other organizers, about the importance of having these courses in school for our students.

What has been your team’s experience during your community engagement activities back in Madison? What are some of your key reflections and learning during this period?                         
We have not yet been able to start our community engagement as we have not yet attended our professional development in Tucson, Arizona.


Xicanas Poderosas con una Misión