About Us

Our Mission

LatinxEd amplifies the leadership and lived experiences of Latinx immigrant families to break down barriers to educational opportunities in North Carolina.

Our Vision

Our vision is to cultivate Southern Latinx Leaders who strive to ensure immigrant families have the freedom to dream and create a better future for their children and their community.

Approach

Latinx Education (LatinxEd – “lah-teen-ex-ed”) is an educational initiative in NC providing targeted, multi-year support to Latinx students and immigrant families striving for higher education and greater opportunity.

We champion the leadership and lived experiences of Latinx students and families…

when addressing challenges because those closest to the problems are closest to the solutions.

North Carolina has the sixth fastest growing Latinx population and the seventh largest Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) population in the nation. North Carolina’s reality is that Latinx students make up a growing part of the student population and almost 100 percent of public school enrollment growth since 2000.

However, despite this large growth in the student population, less than 4 percent of public postsecondary students in North Carolina are Latinx. This reality means across our community, there is a severe lack of representation across the board: teachers, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, and even civic leaders.

All Latinx* students who enter our initiatives are talented potential first-generation college students. Yet they face a myriad of obstacles when accessing and completing higher education, including low socioeconomic status, mixed-residency status households, and dual-language families. Additionally, the majority of our students come from rural communities. However, despite these systemic barriers to student success, all LatinxEd students are motivated to engage with their education, school, and community at-large.

*Latinx = gender neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina

Ultimately, we have a big vision, y’all.

 

We believe that our approach is fostering a new generation of change makers in NC’s public schools, colleges, and beyond.

LatinxEd is a full circle story.

It started with us, Elaine & Ricky, two young Latinx leaders, returning to our roots in North Carolina – a state that raised and educated us. In 2018, we founded LatinxEd out of a pressing need and desire to break down barriers to success for first-generation college students while expanding opportunity for immigrant families.

LatinxEd is inspired by our journeys.

We are children of Latinx immigrants transplanted in rural areas of the South. We are also first generation college students who struggled to find our way past hurdles like imposter syndrome to attain our own educational success. Therefore, we recognize the utmost importance of promoting educational equity, college opportunity, and leadership development among our rapidly growing Latinx community. 

At LatinxEd, we believe students’ lived experiences, cultures, and identities should be embraced, valued, and recognized as sources of strength. This foundational belief for LatinxEd was inspired by our own personal and educational experiences as students in NC’s K-16 system.

LatinxEd’s roots began in rural North Carolina.

Here, communities experience dramatic demographic changes, yet face inequitable shifts in resources – namely cultural competency.

However, LatinxEd continues a legacy of over 10 years of Latinx advocacy and educational equity efforts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

The conditions and vision for LatinxEd began with the Scholars’ Latino Initiative (SLI), an initiative co-founded by two UNC Professors – Paul Cuadros and Peter Kaufman. Housed in UNC-CH’s Center for Global Initiatives, this scholarship and mentorship program was powered and led by hundreds of college volunteers. When we were college students, we had the privilege of serving as student leaders alongside these volunteers. This phase of the work set the stage for LatinxEd – a bolder, broader vision for Latinx student success and leadership in local communities across North Carolina and the Southeast.

Today, with the support of partners, including the UNC School of Education, the Kenan Charitable Trust, and the Oak Foundation, we aim to connect practice to policy and engage in systemic change to improve public education for everyone in our community. As an incorporated non-profit organization operating out of the UNC School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill, LatinxEd works hand in hand with faculty and staff to help translate our student’s dreams into action.

Ultimately, we have a big vision, y’all.

We believe that our approach is fostering a new generation of change makers in NC’s public schools, colleges, and beyond. We welcome you to join us in advancing and amplifying the stories and successes of North Carolina’s Latinx immigrant community.

Porque siempre Somos Carolina,
Ricky Elaine

Our Staff

Co-Founder, Co-Executive Director

Co-Founder, Co-Executive Director

Director of Post-Secondary Opportunity

Lee County Program Coordinator

Program Assistant

Orange County Program Coordinator

Board Members

The majority of us at LatinxEd know what it’s like to grow up in the South as Latinx immigrants or children of immigrants and first generation college students.

Elaine Townsend Utin