Success of LEAD Summit, 04/09/2010
The national Latino Education & Advocacy Day (LEAD) summit was a huge historical success. Yet it flew under the radar of practically every major corporate media. With close to 200, 000 participants that day, if anything but self-interest, the media should have taken note since the very future of the U.S. economy and our place in the global competitive markets lies heavily on the educational outcomes of Latinos.
Many people this week have asked me about the success of our LEAD summit, inquiring about the formulaic steps. I found it impossible to articulate in words. I wrote this blog though, trying to offer at least a partial response.
Wed. April 7, 2010, Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., LEAD Coordinator:
The LEAD summit was a decade in the making! After 10 years of sharing research and practices, networking and dialogue among Latino educational professionals through the Journal of Latinos and Education, the National Latino Education Network, and the brand new Handbook of Latinos and Education, we were able to finally build enough momentum, maturation, and academic capital to host this inaugural summit. We have amassed a broad and deep understanding of the individual, interpersonal and structural factors affecting the educational outcomes of Latino students through the triumvirate of research, teaching, and administration, and have finally gained our place in the academy as a legitimate field of inquiry.
That day, members of the academy reached out in partnership to the larger community as we convened stakeholders across a wide spectrum, sharing a common interest and commitment to the educational issues affecting Latinos. What really harnessed the momentum over the last six months was all the new generation of web-based services such as online social networks like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc... The virtual world is well suited for activism, advocacy, and coalition-building, and holds tremendous potential to deliver benefits to the most vulnerable groups in our society by offering sources of advice, support and services. With these, we were able to reach tens of thousands of people, create relevant ties and build up social capital and community cohesion.
Our organizing committee's vision, passion, energy and leadership became contagious, and in a tremendous way we became architects of a democratic educational movement, that is only the beginning of greater things to follow.
What we did on March 29, 2010, was cross a technological border, moving our academic and social capital toward our intended goal of raising awareness of the Latino Educational crisis. The internet-based streaming technologies and electronic collaboration tools "democratized" our Latino educational movement, revolutionizing the very definition of citizen participation. It allowed thousands of ordinary people to plug in, in real-time, and participate in the making of history, something beyond and greater than themselves as any one individual. Although virtual, those tens of thousands participating in the LEAD summit via the town hall viewing events are indeed a community of real people, and for that day, the constraints of time and space were erased.
We proved that day that Education is as much a "cultural" phenomenon for Latinos, as it is political, moral, etc...
Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., Ph.D.
home web page: http://emurillo.org/
Coordinator, Latino Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD)
College of Education
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2397