Council Letter

September 23, 2020

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Dear Colleagues,

We’re now marking National Hispanic Heritage Month, when we acknowledge the key role Hispanic people have played in our country. George Washington might not have won the decisive Battle of Yorktown against the Brits without the donations he received from Cuban supporters. The balance of power would have been different during World War II without the quarter-million Hispanic men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces. And our economy would suffer without Hispanic entrepreneurs who start more small businesses than anyone else, leading to a flood of jobs.

More opportunities for employment mean more equity, a value the Hispanic community has embraced by fighting for social justice. Cesar Chavez devoted his life to improving the treatment and pay of farmworkers, still a struggling group that dreams of a better life for their kids, as you’ll see when Dr. Moore shares some thoughts on Head Start. Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, is known for her deep concern about defendants’ rights, reform of the criminal justice system, and issues of race and ethnic identity. Sylvia Mendez played a central role in Mendez vs. Westminster, which banned segregation in California public schools and paved the way for the national ban on segregated schools in Brown vs. Board of Education.

You can learn more about Mendez in our tribute to Hispanic/Latinx ECE champions. Check it out to meet heroes like Isabel Garcia, executive director of RCMA, a group that works to make the dreams of young kids from farmworker families come true. You can also read about Nydia M. Velázquez, the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She’s a firm proponent of equity in early childhood education who thinks that “no parent should lose sleep worrying that their child will miss out on a safe and nurturing early childhood education.”

Sadly, many children aren’t getting the early care and education they need as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on our early childhood settings. So, the Children’s Equity Project (CEP) and Council for Professional Recognition are working together to increase equity in education for America’s youngest learners. While the current crisis has widened the learning divide, “this issue is not going away and is particularly challenging for Black, Latinx and Native American children,” says CEP founding director Shantel Meek. So, she calls on policy makers and leaders to “make meaningful change that builds a stronger, more equitable learning system for our youngest children.”

Strengthening the early childhood system requires commitment and coordination from all stakeholders, says Gloria de Llovio-Domínguez, an early childhood pioneer in Puerto Rico. We profile her efforts on both the program and policy level as she works to remodel the island’s child care system. “We need to bring Head Start, private child care services, preschool services within public schools, home visiting programs, child abuse prevention agencies and public health services all together in common projects,” she pleads, “so every child can be ready to succeed.”

And our nation’s own success may depend on how we serve our young Hispanic learners, one of the fastest-growing segments of the population. By 2050, one-third of the total population is projected to be Hispanic. Today’s Hispanic children will be many of tomorrow’s taxpayers, parents, voters and leaders. So, as we look back on the community’s impressive past, we should also look ahead to its impact in coming years. Hispanic children will play a key role in our country’s future.

Un cordial saludo,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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