Latino Student Association intends to create safe space

Group plans to further develop Latino identities

Lukas Levin

As Park’s social worker, Daniel Perez anticipates speaking to classrooms about various support groups around the school, including the Latino Student Association.

Perez said his Latino identity and social work experience prompted his decision to advise the Latino Student Association (LSA).

“The piece of being Latino myself and having graduated from Park is just another way to show my presence that not only do we have Latino staff here but that were committed to investing in all of our students,” Perez said. “I am a social worker who has done psychotherapy and so I bring that mental health knowledge and strategies which we definitely learn.”

Junior Sabrina Garcia said she first went to the club to meet other Latino students.

“I joined last year and at first it was meet a bunch of new people that I had something in common with. Then afterwards it was because we wanted to talk about what our lives were like at home,” Garcia

Perez said last year the club discussed various topics, such as mental health and immigration, in a space where students could feel safe.

“We left off having had very deep conversations and with a plan to continue working on developing our identities as Latinos and also think how we can make our presence more known around the school,” Perez said.

Although Perez said the goals for LSA are redefined each year, long-term purposes of the group include providing students with the opportunity to feel safe while sharing their thoughts and supporting one another.

“We talked about depression and anxiety and family issues last year, but also (students) can talk openly about their immigration status or their family’s immigration status,” Perez said. “It is a support group with a hint of learning and doing — community involvement.”

Garcia said she values the club’s unity.

“We have a lot of togetherness,” Garcia said.

According to Perez, this year the group will likely form committees for several roles such as event planning, outreach and leadership.

“There were so many (students) that had different ideas, that with so many ideas it’s hard to implement them, but if we had a core team, or a committee, then people would have perhaps more ability to discern together,” Perez said.

Perez said the date for the first LSA meeting has not been decided, but he is considering meeting every three to four weeks.