Celebrating: Rita Kamani-Renedo #LatinxHeritageMonth

What drew you to your current position?

I work at a school that serves newcomer immigrant youth. My students speak over 8 different languages and come from over 15 different countries. As a daughter of immigrants, I am passionate about working with young people who bring their many languages, cultures, and identities to school, and about creating learning spaces where those languages, cultures, and identities are affirmed and uplifted. I love learning alongside my students! 

How do you use writing or art in your life?

Writing is a way to reflect on my day, and to have a space to put my thoughts, concerns, ideas, and questions. Especially in these times, writing and art have offered a space to heal, to honor my feelings, and to hold many, sometimes difficult, truths. 

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? 

My family has taught me the value of integrity and commitment. Though I bring humor, light, and joy to my teaching, I am also serious about the work I do because I believe that my students deserve it. I care deeply about their learning, about their well being, and about our collective futures. My community has encouraged me to channel that passion and care into work that I believe in and that nourishes me.  As Gloria Anzaldua once wrote, “Do work that matters. Vale la pena.”  

What would you tell your younger self? 

Don’t be afraid to seek answers to the questions that no one has been able to answer for you yet. In the process of searching, you’ll learn so much about yourself! 

What do you want the world to know?

That teaching young people to be critical thinkers, compassionate and thoughtful members of a community, and to love themselves, is deeply necessary for our collective well being. Creating spaces where young people can learn, grow, and shine, is deeply important to our shared humanity. 

Something else you want to share?

Thank you for offering me this opportunity to share!

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