Illinois State University College of Education faculty and staff along with students and local citizens are confronting the crisis in Latino education by participating in “A Day of Courageous Conversations,” on Monday, March 29, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Alumni Center.

The summit is in celebration of Latino Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) and is a first for the College of Education. It has been dubbed a “hybrid” summit and will combine webcasted speakers and panels from California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) with live panel discussions of Illinois State’s very own faculty, students, and community members. The goal of the summit is to increase awareness of Latino education issues in the community and to promote advocacy to address these concerns.

Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) members, University professors and administrators will represent Illinois State. Community members, including representatives from Heartland Community College, the Western Avenue Community Center, the Hispanic Families Work Group and La Palabra, the local Spanish newspaper, will present during the community session.

Illinois State is one of 47 universities across the nation that will be broadcasting live panel discussions from the LEAD headquarters in San Bernardino in an effort to enhance the intellectual, cultural and personal development of the Latino community. Illinois State panelists will focus on issues unique to Bloomington-Normal and Central Illinois alike.

Amongst the local LEAD planning committee are Amee Adkins, associate dean of Assessment and Undergraduate Education, and Jacqueline Arroyo-Romano, assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction. Together, they have appointed more than 20 colleagues throughout the campus and volunteers from community organizations to assist with the event.

For those faculty, staff and students across campus, LEAD is “an opportunity to learn more about issues that affect their students and their students’ families. It is an effort to raise awareness and promote better service for the Latino community,” Adkins said.

Several keynote speakers at CSUSB will be webcasted, including Juan Sepulveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, and Sylvia Mendez, civil rights activist and plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education. A forum of “Theory and Research into Action,” will also be highlighted, featuring speakers from distinguished universities across the nation.

Arroyo-Romano looks forward to the first Illinois State summit and urges everyone on campus and within the community to “join a state, nationwide and international event to create awareness and action about issues of minorities, in particular Hispanic populations.” Arroyo-Romano hopes that LEAD will facilitate the support needed to enhance the intellectual and cultural development of our community’s educators, administrators and students.

The Alumni Center is located at 1101 N. Main Street in Normal. The summit will continue into the evening from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Western Avenue Community Center, 600 N. Western Avenue, Bloomington. The summit is free to participants.