Updates and Resources for Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Hispanic Americans: A proud heritage

As the advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion task force within the NC State College of Education, we want to honor and recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month. Our goal as a task force is to provide resources related to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 to recognize the histories, cultures, achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans, whose ancestors come from Mexico, the Caribbean, Spain and Central and South America and who have inspired others to achieve success, according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

8 Things to Know About National Hispanic Heritage Month

  1. The observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was then expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.
  2. Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period.
  3. Hispanic or Latinx refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture of origin regardless of race. In the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latinx origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban or “another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.”
  4. Today, 55 million people, or 17% of the American population, are of Hispanic or Latinx origin. This represents a significant increase from the 2000 census, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
  5. Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect their community’s multiethnic and multicultural customs.
  6. National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to the United States and celebrates their heritage and culture.
  7. To celebrate this annual tribute to Hispanic and Latinx cultures, learn about and celebrate the generations of Hispanic and Latinx Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.
  8. The United States Statutes at Large, which is widely available through federal depository libraries, houses the public laws that designated a week and then a month for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sources: National Archives News and Paradise Valley Community College Libraries.


Jose Picart

Jose A. Picart, Ph.D.
Professor of Counselor Education
Deputy Director, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation

Jose A. Picart, Ph.D, has been a permanent fixture on the NC State campus for 17 years, having served as vice provost for diversity and inclusion followed by vice provost for academic programs and services before joining the College of Education. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve at the College of Education with so many extraordinary researchers, educators and staff. Thank you for including me and for inspiring me to thrive and grow as a member of this remarkable community,” he said.

Picart spent one year as the interim dean of the College of Education before taking on his current role as deputy director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and professor of counselor education. He also serves on the college’s change agent group to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in education, a role he is passionate about. 

“Education helps prepare people for work and for life. We work in a global economy and to be successful in this global economy our education system must be diverse, equitable and inclusive,” he said. “The citizenship of our democracy is diverse and recent events remind us that our society is not as equitable or inclusive as it should be. Diversity, equity and inclusion in education can increase our understanding of human nature and of the persistent systemic and structural barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

Diversity, equity and inclusion in education, he says, can help inform the solutions that are needed to allow for society to more fully realize a just and equitable democracy. 

But one of the most important reasons he is so passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion in education is because of his family. As a Black, Hispanic man with children who are mixed Black and Native American and grandchildren who are mixed Black, Native American and White, Picart says, he has a very diverse family and he wants his grandchildren to live, thrive and prosper in a society that values diversity, equity and inclusion. 

And his research speaks to these passions and areas of interest.

Picart is currently a co-principal investigator with Crystal Chen Lee, Ed.D. on the Literacy and Community Initiative (LCI) project, which seeks to amplify the voices of underrepresented, under-resourced and marginalized youth through publication of their writings, by encouraging them to engage with their communities through their spoken words, and ultimately pursuing leadership through their actions. Students who are part of LCI complete an eight-week literacy curriculum which culminates in the publication of a book, public readings and engaging with stakeholders in their communities. 

“The research is grounded in critical literacy theory and we examine the student’s writings for evidence of the youth as a student, teacher, storyteller and activist. In the next phase of our research, we will seek to determine if participating in the LCI program helps youth develop their self-determination, self-compassion and self-esteem,” Picart said.

LCI has partnered with three community-based organizations — Juntos NC, Bull City YouthBuild and CORRAL Riding Academy. Juntos NC works with Latinx immigrant students. Bull City YouthBuild works with students in Durham to complete their high school graduation requirements while acquiring the skills necessary for the construction industry. And CORRAL Riding Academy works with adolescent girls in high-risk situations through a long-term, holistic program of equine therapy, tutoring and mentoring to prepare each girl and her community with skills, resources and opportunities to be successful.

Through these partnerships, the youth have completed over 235 writing projects, including vignettes, poetry, memoirs, essays, reflections, blackout poems, autoethnography and interviews which have resulted in six published books. They have also participated in 11 community engagement activities, such as public book readings, panel discussions and a podcast. 

“We hope that working with these community groups empowers the youth to not only advocate for themselves, but also inspires them to become more civically-engaged leaders in their communities,” he said. 

As a counselor educator who is trained in psychology, Picart says he prepares future college counselors, advisors and leaders who are culturally competent to lead, serve and advocate for the success of college students from all backgrounds. 

“When I teach, I try to model as much as possible what inclusive instruction and curriculum should look and feel like. Valuing and respecting each student for who they are and what they bring to the learning experience helps create an environment where students can be their authentic selves and feel like they belong,” he said.

He says he builds on this foundation by designing curriculum that invites students to contribute their diverse knowledge and life experiences as co-educators, teaching each other. Picart also invites diverse guest speakers to the classroom in an effort to help his students to see themselves as college and university professionals and educators. 

“I hope my students develop into college professionals who respect not only the uniqueness of each individual, but who are also mindful of the things all humans share in common — the needs for safety, connection, competency and purpose,” Picart said.  


For educators and teacher-leaders who are interested in learning more about advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion and anti-racist education, here are two resources Jose A. Picart, Ph.D., recommends:

  • An online anti-racism education program offered by the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso, which is currently available for free until Oct 15.
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown.


Color of Education 2020 Virtual Summit | Month of October

The Color of Education is a partnership between the Public School Forum of NC, The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. The Color of Education 2020 Summit will be held virtually and will consist of weekly events during the month of October. Visit https://colorofeducation.org/ for a detailed schedule with dates, times and speaker information. 

NC State Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity: Racial Equity Summit | Oct. 15, 2020

The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) will host a virtual summit on racial equity. The event is intended to invite community engagement and input from faculty, staff, students, community members and alumni into how NC State can address specific issues and common themes to improve racial equity at NC State, and to help ensure that NC State moves forward toward its vision of a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming community where all can succeed and thrive. Visit https://diversity.ncsu.edu/summit/ for more information. 

Racial Stratification of Higher Education

Racial Stratification of Higher Education | Oct. 21, 2020

Hosted by The Joyce Foundation, “Racial Stratification of Higher Education” is a discussion of recent work on the racial stratification of the higher education system and its policy implications, featuring Joyce-funded reports. Visit Eventbrite for more information and to register for this free virtual event. 

Good Trouble Town Hall

Good Trouble: Implications of Systematic Oppression in Education | Oct. 27, 2020

The College of Education at North Carolina A&T State University, in partnership with Winston-Salem State University, will host the Good Trouble Town Hall on racial trauma and systematic oppression and its effect on our communities and public. Visit Eventbrite for more information and to register for this free virtual event. 

Excellence for ALL Students via Professional Development and Instructional Change | Oct. 29

Through an event hosted by Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy, Stephanie Curenton, an associate professor in the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, will deliver a presentation on racially minoritized learners’ (RMLs) experiences and achievement in school settings with a particular focus on discussing how the field measures instructional quality as it relates to RMLs’ experiences in the classroom. Learn more and register.

¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now | Nov.20, 2020-Aug. 8, 2021, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

This exhibition explores the rise of Chicano graphics within early social movements and the ways in which Chicanx artists have advanced innovative printmaking practices attuned to social justice. ¡Printing the Revolution! features more than 120 works drawn from the Smithsonian American Art Museum pioneering collection of Latinx art. 


As we continue our work toward advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the college, the Change Agent Group/Task Force would love to hear from you. Please submit your ideas, suggestions, and feedback for what you’d like to see and experience for your growth and development, as well as what the college should focus on to improve the culture and climate.

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