“I wanted this space to be a place where our scholars aren’t embarrassed to be who they are, to be their authentic selves,” Murillo said. Both her and Ponce emphasized how they wanted the LSA to be a space where students can feel pride in their Latine/x identity, regardless of how much they have engaged in Latine/x culture.
“Latine/x Scholar Alliance is about being inclusive. It is about meeting one where they are at in their journey of identity exploration,” Murillo said, “We want our scholars to feel safe enough to explore—and to never feel that they are not Latine/x enough.”
Ponce added, “As the adults in this space, we’re expected to know a lot about our identity. However, we always aim to be authentic and truthful. We show our scholars that we’re not perfect and don’t know everything, either. What’s real is that we’re also learning more about ourselves.”
With these goals in mind, Murillo and Ponce set up the affinity group to promote conversation and learning about Latine/x identities and culture—and the group has been flourishing as a result. This year, the LSA doubled its number of active members and has become a valued space for Latine/x students.
“I like being surrounded by people who are of a similar ethnicity to me,” Maria F, a student member, said, “It’s beautiful to see people of the same ethnicity come together and show a vulnerable and true aspect of themselves. Sometimes, people don’t feel comfortable being that version of themselves during class or throughout the school day, but they do in that space. I really enjoy that.”
Sophomore Angie M added, “This group has helped me become more social with other people at our school, and I appreciate that.”
Angie said that she also “appreciates this affinity group as a space to learn more about their culture.” She has been doing Mexican folklórico outside of school for three years and saw Muchin’s Latine/x Scholar Alliance as a chance to connect with Latine/x people at Muchin and continue to learn more aspects of her culture.