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New Format, New Name for Latino-Focused Summit

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2018-03-15T09:36:28+00:00 February 3, 2017|News, Previous Event|
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New Format, New Name for Latino-Focused Summit

  • 3rd Annual Latinx Summit Poster

Free and Open to All

February 25, 2017
8 a.m.–3 p.m.
Highline’s main campus, Building 2

Come to campus for the third annual Latinx Summit. The event will include speakers and workshops designed to provide students with the tools they need for success in higher education and beyond. The free summit is open to all, but registration is required.

This year’s summit has undergone a format and name change. Previously held on two consecutive mornings, the event will now run one full day and is called the Latinx Summit. Organizers are using the term Latinx as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina, hoping to stress the inclusive nature of the summit.

Watch what attendees had to say about last year’s Summit.


Contact Joshua Magallanes at jmagallanes@highline.edu or (206) 592-3998.

Meet the Artist

Are you curious about the artwork used in the Latinx Summit image above? Learn about artist and Highline alumna Samantha Montes de Oca and her work.


Space is limited. Register today to guarantee your spot.


Check in at the entrance of Building 2.
Luis OrtegaIn Lak’Ech, a timeless Mayan precept that means “you are my other me,” serves as an opening invitation to immerse in Ortega’s stories about empathy, solidarity and resilience. Ortega will share his journey as an immigrant and storyteller with poems and humor in an effort to illustrate the power of sharing our stories to advocate for our communities. Ultimately, he will make a call to action for each student to believe in the power of his or her stories to make a difference.

Summit organizers will put students into three groups; each group will attend one of the following three presentations:

Stephanie Ojeda Espinoza: “Ni de Aquí Ni de Allá: On (Slowly) Losing My Cultural Shame”

Stephanie Ojeda EspinozaDo you get picked up from school in an embarrassing van or go to school with frijoles for lunch? Do you feel pressured to be, like Selena’s dad said, “more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans”? In this workshop, Espinoza will talk about her identity crisis, navigating cultural bullying, and being an educated feminist Latina. Students will explore their own identities and discuss ways to be confident in their own identities.

Biography: Espinoza was born in Los Angeles and raised in Bakersfield, California, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at California State University, Bakersfield. After completing her master’s and post-baccalaureate certificate in writing, she moved to the San Francisco area to pursue her teaching career in higher education. In 2014, she moved from California to Washington for a tenured teaching position in the English department at Highline College. She has worked in various student outreach programs, such as the Umoja learning community and is currently co-coordinating the Puente program at Highline. Espinoza identifies as Salvadoreña, Mexicana and American. Her passion is improving educational access and equity for students and educators.

Dr. Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien: “Identity Development”

Dr. Benjamin Gonzalez O'BrienWhat does it mean to be Latino/a? Is it simply a racial identification or is it something larger than this? In this workshop, Dr. Gonzalez O’Brien will discuss the political and racial history of Latinos in the United States, the current political environment, and the concept of shared fate. He will discuss his own struggles with what it means to be Latino and why race is so complicated in the United States. Students will be given an opportunity to discuss their own identities and understanding of what it means to be Latino/a in America.

Biography: Dr. Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien was born in San Francisco before moving to Oxnard, Calif., where he spent most of his childhood. After dropping out of school, he returned at the age of 17 and, after a move to Oregon, became the oldest graduate from South Salem High School at 21. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon before moving on to the University of Victoria for his master’s, and a few years later, to the University of Washington for his doctorate. Gonzalez O’Brien has spent close to a decade studying undocumented immigration and recently been involved in advocacy for sanctuary policies in his new home of Lake Forest Park.

Osbaldo Hernandez: Interseccionalidad/Intersectionality: The Latinx Journey and Experience

Osbaldo HernandezOur Latinx culture is one of the most complex in the world. With different dialects, languages, music, cuisine and religions, our culture defines us, but how can we say who we are if there are so many different types and flavors?

Our cultural identity is one of the greatest powers we have as Latinx people in the United States. It is important to know how to use our identity to fight for our community and for ourselves. Our culture makes us unique and strong — our community makes us strong. Now more than ever, when our rights and culture are under attack from racist and intolerant forces in this country, it is important to know how to use our identity, our struggles and history to fight for our dreams and create a more peaceful and welcoming world for those coming behind.

Remember, we are the fruits harvested by our ancestors through their efforts and struggles. They have tried burying us but little did they know that we were seeds.

Biography: Hernandez is passionate about service, policy and advocacy. His personal story as a former undocumented student and first-generation college graduate has given him firsthand experience that has grounded his volunteer and professional work in the areas of education and immigration.

After graduating from Seattle University with a bachelor’s degree in public affairs and minors in political science and international economic development, Hernandez moved to the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas to teach high school social studies for two years. His work as a teacher and his exposure to the true challenges that our public education system faces today has fueled his charge to be part of the movement that is working to close the achievement gap. Working and living in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the poorest regions in the U.S., also gave Hernandez an opportunity to explore the intersection between immigration and education policies along with issues with poverty.

After successfully completing his two years of teaching through Teach For America, Hernandez moved back to Seattle to work as a staffer for U.S. Senator Patty Murray. His work in her office has involved working with constituent services and outreach in the areas of immigration and state and local issues.

Hernandez received a master’s degree in education policy from the University of Washington that he plans to use to further his academic knowledge and his work experience in education policy and advocacy. He currently works for the Bellevue School District as Graduation Success Coach, helping and coaching students who have been failed by our education system.

Summit organizers will put students into three groups; each group will attend one of the following three presentations:

Joe Aguilar: “Knowing Why, How and For How Long”

Joe AguilarHave you been told to go to college? Or perhaps the opposite? We are always being told to do or not to do things, but are we ever given a good answer as to why? During this workshop, you will find out what it means to pursue higher education and why some sort of post-secondary education is important now more than ever. You will explore your passions and interest. You will also learn and start practicing Advisor Joe’s tips for academic success.

Biography: Growing up in Wenatchee, Washington, Aguilar was heavily involved in sports and wanted to be a sports broadcaster. However, it was at Washington State University where he became deeply involved in student-led organizations and while working with WSU, he fell in love with helping students pursue higher education and decided to change his career path.

Like many students do, Aguilar went through many obstacles and hardships during college, but he was able to earn his bachelor’s degree in communications and society with an emphasis in organizational communication. Currently, he is an academic adviser at Highline College, guiding students into the paths to achieve their dreams. He is also involved in many initiatives that promote higher education within the community.

Aguilar plans to pursue his master’s degree in higher education leadership and policy studies at the University of Washington. His career goals include becoming a director of a student services program and possibly a vice president or dean within a higher education institution. His passion is helping students of all backgrounds reach their academic, career and personal goals.

Darline Guerrero: “Be What You Want to Be: Adjusting Your Growth Mindset”

Darline GuerreroGuerrero’s workshop will examine the concepts of self-engagement, motivation and resilience through the lens of mindsets. Students will gain an understanding of the relationship among these concepts while designing and implementing strategies that will help them create positive academic achievement goals.

Biography: Guerrero is a proud Latina, born in East Los Angeles, California. She spent her childhood in a single-parent household with her mom and two sisters. She and her sisters are the first on both sides of their family to graduate from college. Her eldest sister, the first to receive a bachelor’s degree; the middle sister, a master’s degree; and Guerrero will be the first to achieve a doctorate degree.

She has worked in early childhood education for more than 20 years. She is currently the Director of Operations for a local nonprofit education organization (Launch) and an early childhood education instructor and student adviser at North Seattle College.

Martha Molina Magallanes: “When Sinking Isn’t An Option: An Undocumented Dreamer Experience”

Martha Molina MagallanesWhen failing isn’t an option in your quest to become a college graduate, getting a “no” turns into just another hurdle. Living in a political climate where much uncertainty exists for immigrants and undocumented students, here’s an opportunity to learn firsthand of a survival guide to higher education. When politicians seem to think of you as solution to save money, how do you build the courage to say I deserve this as much as your white peers? Here you will learn what to do when the rules and policies don’t apply to you because you’re not a textbook student and how to demand equality even if the school’s policies do not cover your unique circumstances.

Biography: Magallanes’ passion for advancing Latinos in higher education lead her to her work to mentor Latina students. Being a first generation immigrant, she quickly learned that being a traditional good student would not be enough in her efforts to earn a bachelor’s degree. She and her family immigrated to the United States from Guatemala in 1989. They first resided in Los Angeles, where she experienced the L.A. riots as a child in 1992, as well as Proposition 187, one of the contemporary racially charged laws that intended to exclude immigrants from access to health care and K–12 education. In 1995, her family found refuge in Seattle, and for the first time in her life, she was a student in an integrated classroom. Los Angeles schools did not begin full efforts toward racial integration until 1994.

Magallanes completed her associate degree at Highline College, where she was a writer and editor for the Thunderword. In 2008, she graduated from the University of Washington, earning a degree in political science, with an emphasis in political theory and a minor in Spanish. After graduating, she stumbled into a career as a workers’ compensation professional. When she is not conquering the world of workers’ comp for Seattle City Light, she enjoys attending sporting events with her husband Mario Magallanes and long walks with her 3-year-old Chihuahua, Buttercup. Her volunteer experience includes more than 10 years as a scholarship mentor for the Miss Hispanic Seafair program

Enjoy a free meal while visiting with fellow attendees.
Students can select from one of the following three offerings:

La Clave Cubana Salsa Dance Group: Workshop on Rueda de Casino Havana Style

La Clave CubanaLearn Rueda de Casino, a style of salsa dancing that was created in Cuba many years ago. It is a dance for two or more couples, with one leader who calls out different movements or steps. When there are more than two couples, the dance is done in Rueda (circle shape). This kind of dance is excellent for creating a social environment among the dancers or the people watching. At the same time, it is lots of fun.

Dr. Francisco “Cisco” Orozco: Capoeira Workshop

Francisco OrozcoCome experience the martial art of capoeira that was developed by Afro-Brazilians during the colonial period. Capoeira was created to keep Afro-Brazilian slaves healthy physically, mentally and spiritually during times of extreme oppression and hardship. This martial art incorporates music, singing and dance into an art form that is dynamic, fluid and a lot of fun. This beginner-level workshop will teach you basic movements, teach you to play and sing, and give you a hands-on experience in a roda (pronounced “hoda”), the center of capoeira practice.

Biography: Orozco is a faculty member in the Department of Music at Highline College.

Originally from Oakland, Calif., Orozco arrived in Seattle in 2003 to pursue his academic interests in son jarocho and fandango and Latino popular music in the U.S. He eventually earned a doctorate degree in ethnomusicology in 2012 from the University of Washington.

Some of his collaborative work over the years has included researching the “Chicano Soul” scene of 1960s San Antonio; working as associate curator on the ground-breaking exhibit “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music;” and teaching in the departments of Music and American Ethnic Studies at the UW.

He is involved in the Pacific Northwest’s cultural arts community, including the art of capoeira, the Seattle Fandango Project, and De Cajon Project, an Afro-Peruvian “artivist” group.

Jake Prendez: “The Art of Rebellion: Social Justice and Chicana/o Visual Arts”

Jake PrendezThis workshop will focus on how subversive art has been used in social movements. We will discuss the relationship between Mexican muralism, social realism and civil rights art of the 1960s to current social justice art.

Biography: Prendez is a strong advocate for youth empowerment and the power of positive reinforcement. He grew up being told he was worthless. As a youth, he was put in special education classes due to undiagnosed dyslexia. He became involved in the gang culture in middle school. Thanks to positive role models later in life, he turned his life around and became heavily involved with the Chicano movement and student organizations like MEChA. Prendez went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in American ethnic studies at the University of Washington and his master’s degree in Chicana/o studies from CSU Northridge. His thesis was titled “The Art of Rebellion: Social Justice and Chicano Visual Arts.”

Today Prendez is an outreach counselor and works with high school and community college students around the state of California. He is also a renowned visual artist displaying his work in numerous exhibitions around the country. His artwork focuses on themes of culture, activism, social justice, pop culture and satire. His artistic style ranges from Chicano and indigenous influences, social realism and tattoo esthetics to colorful urban style art.

Hear a closing message and have a chance at winning one of many raffle prizes.

Approximately 100 high school students from the south King County community are expected to attend Highline’s third annual summit. Event organizers hope to empower Latino/a youth to embrace higher education and knowledge while celebrating their cultural heritage and background.

Guest speakers, including educators and graduates from Highline, will share both their professional and personal experiences with attendees.

The summit is an extension of Highline’s commitment to diversity, social justice and multiculturalism for which the college has earned several awards and recognition.

Most recently, for the fourth straight year, Highline received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Highline was one of only two institutions in Washington — and one of only nine community colleges nationwide — to receive the 2016 award. The award is given annually by Insight into Diversity magazine.

In 2014, the college received a prestigious Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges for increasing diversity and social equity on campus. Highline was one of six colleges in the nation earning recognition and won in the Advancing Diversity category.

Highline serves the most diverse community in the state, which is mirrored in its student population that includes more than 70 percent students of color, 17 percent of whom are Hispanic/Latino.

Curious About the Art?

Highline Alumna Creates This Year’s Summit Image

Samantha Montes de OcaArtist and newly minted Highline alumna Samantha Montes de Oca contributed her time and talent to this year’s Latinx Summit by creating the artwork and materials promoting the event.

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, and now living in Kent, the 23-year-old’s artistic talent has been recognized on a number of occasions at Highline, including the college’s recent film contest where she collaborated with fellow alumna Lisa Lopez to take third place for the animated film “Home Is Where the Heart Is.”

And in spring of 2016, she earned the award for outstanding program contribution as a member of the college’s Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) design team.

A member of the Latinx Committee, who had worked with Montes de Oca when she was on the CLS design team, asked her to create the design for this year’s summit.

2017 Latinx Summit Artwork

Click on image to enlarge

“Iesha Valencia contacted me and explained to me what this event is about. I took that information plus I researched about the culture of each Latin country and looked at pictures to find inspiration,” said Montes de Oca, who is proud of her Latin American heritage.

“I wanted to create something that represents each and every one of us and the fact that we are present all around the world. We have a lot of similarities such as the use of bright colors, music, patterns, styles, etc. Still, each country has its own identity.”

She used a number of symbols to represent each country, such as the sugar skull for Mexico, penguins and yerba mate for Argentina, and the mask for carnivals in Brazil.

To see more of her work, visit her online portfolio.