The Berkeley Unified School District celebrates Latinx Heritage Month to recognize and honor the contributions of generations of Latinx Americans who have enriched and inspired our nation. On June 2, 2021, the Board of Education adopted a resolution in support of the achievement and success of all Latinx students. Read the full resolution here.
Our mission in BUSD is to “enable and inspire our diverse student body to achieve academic excellence and make positive contributions to our world.”
We believe that to accomplish this mission and keep our promises of Excellence, Equity, Enrichment and Engagement, we must create school communities and classrooms that are welcoming, humanizing and inclusive. As educators, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to make our school communities places where all students are seen, heard and affirmed. This happens in many ways including our interactions, our policies and practices, our content and relationships. It requires intentionality and a commitment to celebrate, explore and elevate our individual and collective consciousness about ourselves and each other.
This month, September 15 – October, is the month designated as Latine/x Heritage Month. We appreciate the many ways in which so many of our classes and school communities are places that uplift and celebrate the rich diversity and contributions of the Latine/x community all year long. We also value the fundamental opportunity Latinx Heritage Month offers schools to acknowledge the contributions, culture and history of Latine/x peoples as critical to the past, present and future. We want to explore and highlight the diversity, brilliance, contributions and richness of a diaspora of people, languages and cultures and the beautiful mosaic that is the Latine/x community both in their countries of origin and specifically here in Berkeley and the Bay Area. We hope that these resources support you in these efforts.
Enikia Ford Morthel
Supt. Berkeley Unified School District
Día de los Muertos Activities and Resources
These are photos of students at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle school painting a mural of a skull with flowers on it at the bottom of outside steps that are also painted in many colors.
Since many of the BUSD staff working to organize our October 15 Nuestra Gente (Our People) event and celebration have instead been working in support of our Latine/x community over the last week, we are unable to support this Saturday’s Nuestra Gente event at Longfellow Middle School with the necessary resources and must cancel this event this year.
Instead, BUSD will partner with BAHIA, Inc., Latinos Unidos de Berkeley, and many other community organizations on October 29 to support a Día de los Muertos event held from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Berkeley High School. This event is open to everyone in our school community.
We plan to bring some of our student performers and activities originally planned for the Nuestra Gente event, including student poetry, information about district services, and a Latinx staff recognition to this event on October 29. This event also includes an altar and art exhibition, children’s activities, a Lowrider car show, Mariachi & performances, raffles, bike repair and tuneups, arts and crafts vendors, a food pantry and flu vaccines.
We are excited that we will be able to combine our efforts to build upon this already established event and to strengthen our collaboration with these community partners.
We look forward to seeing many in our community at this exciting event!
October 30, 2022 Día de los Muertos Festival Oakland
You may have noticed that we are using the term “Latine/x” this year. Our district strives to be inclusive and affirming of all gender identities and terms such as Latine and Latinx help us communicate this commitment. Latino, Chicana, Hispanic, and Latinx are just some of the terms that people in our community embrace and identify with. There is no one perfect word for such a diverse group of people and our community will continue to engage in discussions about the ever-evolving terminology that people use to express and celebrate their identities. If you are curious to learn more, we invite you to read this article about the difference between Latine and Latinx.
Three Things You Can Do To Celebrate Latine/x Heritage Month
Listen to the Lived Experiences of Latine/x People
SHORT READ on Latinx vs Latine
SHORT READ on honoring LGBTQ2S+ voices during Latine/x Heritage Month
BIOS of 9 Inspiring Afro Latine/x Women
ARTICLE Growing up Latinx & Disabled
VIDEO on Indigeneity and Latinidad
ESSAY on Latinx & Jewish identity
PODCAST Muslim & Latino from NPR
The English Family Guide PDF is HERE.
Learn About Latine/x Cultures and Local Organizations
VIDEOS from PBS on the diverse experiences of Latinidad
VIDEO of LGBTQ2S+ youth speaking about what Latinx
MINI-BIOS of Central American Leaders
The Arabic Family Guide PDF is HERE.
3. LIFT UP
Lift Up and Celebrate Latine/x Culture with Your Family
BOOK LIST from Berkeley Unified School District Library Team
ENJOY music by José-Luis Orozco
COLOR pages of famous Latinx people
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP to the Smithsonian Latino Museum
READ a book written by one of our district’s teachers, Lourdes Rivas, a teacher at Sylvia Mendez: They Call me M ix/Me Llaman Maestre
BILINGUAL RESOURCES from Berkeley Public Library
The Spanish Family Guide PDF is HERE.
TK-8 Teaching Resources
This diverse collection of resources was compiled by Joemy Ito-Gates, BUSD’s Ethnic Studies TSA in collaboration with the Professional Development Team.
Some Additional Resources for Teachers:
Selected Resources for Teachers | From the Library of Congress
Reading Lists for All Ages
These reading lists, organized by grade level, represent books published in the last five years that are devoted to celebrating, representing, and affirming Latine/Latinx heritage, and celebrating the invaluable contributions of our Latine/Latinx community. Every school library will receive copies of some of the newest books on the lists in both English and Spanish.
All these books are available through BUSD school libraries as a physical and/or digital book. For more information about any of these books or to check out a copy, please ask your school librarian.
Lifting Up BUSD Staff Latine/x Voices
In celebration of our Latine/x community, this year BUSD has introduced “Lifting Up Latine/x Voices,” a campaign to share our Latine/x staff narratives with our students and community by creating posters featuring their stories and experiences. These posters will be displayed at schools, work sites, on the BUSD website, and in district publications. Sharing these narratives with our students will allow them to deepen connections with Latine/x staff across the district.
Please click on each image to see a full-sized poster.
Events & Celebrations
Mexican Independence District 3 Block Party
Sunday, September 18, 11:00 am – 7:30 pm
Opening Ceremony at 12:00 Noon
2992 Adeline St., Berkeley
Learn more here.
Learn About College Financial Aid
The Latinos Unidos de Berkeley Higher Education Team has also provided the following links for families that have children in high school preparing for the transition to college.
- Paying for College: Understanding Financial Aid
- Preparing to Sign Your FAFSA Electronically
- Navigating the Financial Aid Process
- 2022/23 Financial Aid Application Worksheet
- Accessing College as an Undocumented Student in California
Get Involved and Learn More
The Latinx Research Center | UC Berkeley
View Last Year’s Panel: Berkeley, Escucha, Estamos en la Lucha! October 28, 2021
Uplifting Our Legacies of Resilience & Resistance
In celebration of Latinx History Month 2021, Berkeley Unified School District and Latinos Unidos de Berkeley held a panel discussion and Q&A to explore the meaning of Latinidad in our classrooms, how we can teach with Latinx student success at the forefront, and why enhancing the climate and culture in our schools not only benefits Latinx students but all students. Speakers including Jesse Arreguín, Mayor of Berkeley; Dr. Angélica Garcia, Berkeley City College; Cati V. de los Ríos, UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and Latinx parents and students. The virtual event was moderated by School Board Director Ana Vasudeo. View the panel discussion here.
BUSD observes March 21 to April 10 as the César Chávez and Dolores Huerta Commemorative Period–one of the many ways we celebrate and affirm the rich histories of the Chicano, Chicana, Chicanx, Filipina, Filipino, Filipinx, and the Latina, Latino, Latinx communities in our schools.
Read BUSD Resolution No. 21-032 declaring the period of March 21 to April 10 as the César Chávez & Dolores Huerta commemorative period at BUSD.
The BUSD Library Services Department has created a website of teacher resources that are intended to explore, celebrate, uphold, and affirm the important contributions of César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong, and Philip Vera Cruz as civil rights and labor leaders in California, as well as the countless other leaders and farmworkers who engaged in these historic civil rights protests. Berkeley Unified School District is committed to teaching the next generation about our state’s vital labor history.