By: Viviana Hurtado Ph.D.
Familia, we humbly announce that our fledgling Latinas for Latino Lit won 2013’s Latinos In Tech Innovation and Social Media (LATISM) Best Education blog for the work we are doing launching the first online, nationwide Latino children’s summer reading program. My partner Monica Olivera and I accepted this award at the fifth annual LATISM conference and awards ceremony in New York City. We share this recognition with the nearly 700 families, almost 1,500 kids who participated from 38 states, Puerto Rico, 8 other countries, and a military base in Germany.
Vision, passion, and conviction can spark change. But resources sustain it. L4LL is forever grateful to our naming sponsor Google, and our partners Plaza Familia, LATISM, latinamom.me, Boden PR, Delta Dental, Bebé Lanugo, PBS Kids, Monarca Language, Pa’lante Latino, MommyMaestra, and The Wise Latina Club. When we shared our idea and asked you to step up, you dove right in!
As if the award didn’t make our hearts sing, our panel “Promoting Literacy Within The Latino Community” was jam-packed with parents, teachers, business and nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and librarians. Moderated by lioness of a mother Lisa Quinones-Fontanez of Autism Wonderland, Aurora Anaya Cerda, founder of La Casa Azul Bookstore bringing accessibility and knowledge to the heart of Spanish Harlem’s barrio, and online education pioneer Harlyn Pacheco, CEO and co-founder of Qlovi, our discussion focused on creative ways to engage and reach Latino students and families. We asked how can we use technology to acquire a solid education and unlock the ensuing and endless social and economic possibilities. We gave shout outs to organizations bringing books, authors, and learning where Latinos are, whether it is the laundry mat, the local market, or YouTube because research shows Hispanics want their kids to achieve in school but don’t know how. The traditional, mainstream publishing industry may be in trouble. Yet the desire for books, knowledge, and opportunities for authors are endless with the opportunities technology affords.
Education is the great equalizer, even more so for immigrants. Our country’s strength will be measured by the success of these kids. Encouraged by this recognition, grateful for your support, we commit to staying the course as we attempt to strengthen families, communities, and our country through access to improving literacy rates and educational achievement.
We normally sign off with ¡A leer! Let’s read!
Today we add a simple and sincere thank you! ~Viviana and Monica