Alumni News

Enrique Murillo (Ph.D. ’99) organizes nationwide Latino Education and Advocacy Day

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Enrique Murillo

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Photo of Margarita Machado-Casas

Margarita Machado-Casas

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Photo of Sofia Villenas

Sofia Villenas

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UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education alumnus Enrique Murillo organized a nationwide summit to promote the development Latino education. Latino Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) was hosted by California State University at San Bernardino, and was founded and coordinated by Murillo. Two other School of Education alumnae served as panel participants at the summit – Margarita Machado-Casas (Ph.D. ‘06) and Sofia Villenas (Ph.D. ‘96).

The goals of the summit were to promote awareness of the crisis in Latino education and to enhance the intellectual, cultural and personal development of educators, administrators and students. Titled “A Day of Courageous Conversations,” the summit focused on community engagement, professional development, parental involvement and youth leadership.   

The free, one-day summit took place on March 29, 2010. It was hosted by CSUSB’s College of Education and was held on campus at the Santos Manuel Student Union. Sylvia Mendez, a civil rights activist, delivered the morning address, recounting her experience as an 8-year old plaintiff in a 1946 desegregation case. Juan Sepulveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, delivered the afternoon address advocating for the academic achievement of Latinos. 

Throughout the day educators and advocates came together to participate in panel presentations that covered a wide variety of issues. Villenas was a participant in the “History, Schooling and Outcomes” forum. Machado-Casas served as a moderator during the discussion of the feature presentation, “White House Initiative.”

The LEAD summit was broadcast to more than 40 universities across the United States via a webcast by LatinoGraduate.net. Participating universities included Columbia, Harvard, New York University and Purdue. The summit was also broadcast to town hall meetings in Mexico. The LEAD summit was offered as a one-hour course credit through the Extended Programs Division at CSUSB.

During the summit, Murillo, associate professor of language, literacy and culture at CSUSB, unveiled his new handbook, which he edited along with five colleagues including Villenas and Machado-Casas. The handbook, titled Handbook of Latinos and Education, is a comprehensive review of thorough, innovative and critical scholarship relevant to educational issues that impact Latinos. 

“For our editorial team, this was indeed a labor of love, taking us more than five years to plan and compile, and it involved the collaboration of several hundred scholars,” said Murillo. “One key dimension of this handbook project that sets it apart is that of mentorship. From beginning to end, one of the established goals was to actively mentor the next generation of educational researchers, Latino or otherwise, working with our populations.”

The day concluded with the showing of a documentary film by Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers. “Viva La Causa” told the story of the grape strike and boycott led by Cesar Chavez and Huerta in the 1960s.

Murillo regards the LEAD summit as a great success. It attracted 1,000 participants and almost 200,000 online viewers. "We made tremendous history," Murillo said. "We proved that day that education is as much a 'cultural' phenomenon for Latinos as it is political and moral."