Hispanic Heritage Month ends today, October 15, and we are reminded to remain steadfast in our commitment to educational equity at Community College of Denver. In our community, only 46 percent of all Hispanic/Latinx college-age students are enrolled in post-secondary education programs, and in Colorado, only 25 percent of Latinx students complete their higher education; and among Denver Public Schools’ graduates, only 14 percent complete their degree within six years.*
As a Latina, I am determined to be a part of the solution for my Hispanic and Latinx brothers and sisters. We are not a monolith, yet we are bonded by our language, our Hispanic heritage, and this critical month that recognizes our struggles and celebrates our contributions to this country. What would our country be without the beautiful expressions of our cultures, like the upcoming Día de los Muertos? Imagine the holidays without La Navidad o Las Posadas.
Like the Hispanic and Latinx students who attend Community College of Denver, I find myself in an interstitial space: a Cuban-American woman, constantly evaluating which half of that dash I can fully express in the present moment. It is tiresome, yet I wouldn’t change it for anything. I suspect and hope that our Hispanic/Latinx students would say the same.
Community College of Denver is a place where I want our Hispanic/Latinx faculty, staff, and students to know they can fully express their cultures and identities in whatever ways feel true to them. Beyond that, I pledge to all students that Community College of Denver is, and will continue to be, a catalyst for meaningful employment opportunities for you. Our certificates and degrees are pathways to upward mobility and for changing the narrative about who can succeed in the United States. We are here to support you, no matter what day of the year, and want to see you reach your goals.
¡Sì se puede!
Dr. Marielena P. DeSanctis
President, Community College of Denver
*According to the 2020 Talent Pipeline Report https://cwdc.colorado.gov/resources/colorado-talent-pipeline-report