Celebrating: Ilza J. García #HispanicHeritageMonth

What drew you to your current position?

I would like to influence the literacy experiences that students have access to within the school day by creating or providing meaningful learning opportunities for teachers. 

How do you use writing or art in your life?

Writing and art are my sources of joy and tools for processing experiences and emotions. The writing community of Latinas that I have been fortunate to be part of over the years inspires me and has provided a compassionate group of women. Together we have shared about our sources of joy and pain, and honored our writing lives by creating a space to create, listen, and refine our craft. 

Through writing fiction, painting, and playing music, I can re-create or work through emotions, process my reactions, consider the reactions of others, and create a meaningful work that I hope can positively influence someone else’s experiences. Not only does it bring me joy to generate words, stories, songs, and paintings, this contribution extends beyond my own life to touch that of others. I also rely on art to heal myself. 

What lessons and/or teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching – or the work you do in schools? 

I value and have needed the wisdom and affirmations of my abuelitos and want to find ways to keep the connection across generations strong. Often this is tied to language, and so I find ways to advocate for and put into action professional learning that incorporates biliteracy and writing spaces in the curriculum. It is important that this writing space is meaningful to the students, families and educators involved and that the goal is centered around elevating students’ stories. It is also crucial that our literacy spaces in the classroom allow for conversations about students’ reactions to current events, and that we show our students how to share their messages with audiences to accomplish the kind of change they would like to see in the world. 

What would you tell your younger self? 

I would tell her that writers come from all walks of life, that her stories have audiences that understand her way of being and need to hear them, and most importantly that her words can heal the way the words of others will heal her.  

What do you want the world to know?

All children have stories to tell that can give us insight on how to improve their lives and that of future generations. 

Something else you want to share?

We are multifaceted, and part of the struggle of life is to find ways to celebrate and find connections between all of our roles and passions. 

Instagram: 

@ilzita12

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