Before moving to Washington, DC almost 14 years ago, I lived in Peru. I am both a mother of a public education student and a student myself. While my son attends Thomson Elementary School as a third grader, I study at the University of the District of Columbia through a scholarship awarded to me by the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School.
I was motivated to become a parent leader when I learned about the lack of resources available to non-native English speaking families trying to navigate our public education system. From my own experience, I know that many parents have trouble accessing school resources or even communicating effectively with teachers or school staff when non-English language resources do not exist. I want to be a parent advocate because I feel like the voices of Hispanic and Latino parents have not been heard, nor have they played a role in the education of our children throughout the city.
I began as a volunteer at my son’s school. Thanks to the support of my family and friends, I later became a member of the Head Start Policy Council and the PTA at my son’s school. Because I wanted to advocate for families beyond my son’s school, I have also supported organizations like Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) to fight for the rights of undocumented immigrants. My involvement in these projects has truly been an asset, especially as I have organized parent leaders to reform our immigration system and gain access to language resources and driver’s licenses in DC.
Our children depend on us to make sure they can pursue the career of their choice and lead an independent life. As parents, if we don’t communicate what we need from our elected officials and school leaders, we will never get results. We must express our needs and what we want for the future of our children because if we don’t, who will?
I envision an education system that allows greater parent participation, especially from Latino parents. I would love to see more Latino students finish their schooling through college. Although there might be diversity in our schools, we must all fight for the same thing – to see our children have equality in access to education and opportunity.
By Miriam Perlacio, Ward 1 PAVE PLE Board Member