Erin Ryan

12 classroom-ready quotes to celebrate National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month

Blog Post created by Erin Ryan on Sep 22, 2020

Fostering an inclusive, anti-racist classroom isn’t just a one-time event. It requires deliberate, consistent practice. Whether you’re teaching and learning remotely, on-site, or in a hybrid model, there are always opportunities to include perspectives and ideas from traditionally marginalized groups.

September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. To mark this annual celebration of the culture and contribution of Americans with Hispanic and Latinx ancestry, we’ve curated a collection of quotations from authors, thinkers, policymakers, artists, and more. Use these wise words to adorn bulletin boards, message boards, virtual classrooms, assignment sheets, or anywhere else students may need an inspirational boost. They also make great icebreakers to promote thoughtful discussions, this month and beyond.

1. “The point is not to pay back kindness, but to pass it on.”—Julia Alvarez, poet, novelist


2. "I only know that learning to believe in the power of my own words has been the most freeing experience of my life. It has brought me the most light. And isn't that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark."—Elizabeth Acevedo, from the young adult novel The Poet X


3. “Everything good that’s ever happened to me came out of helping others.”—Danny Trejo, actor, entrepreneur


4. “In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor.”—Julián Castro, 2020 presidential candidate, former secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development


5. “In every position that I’ve been in, there have been naysayers who don’t believe I’m qualified or who don’t believe I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong.”—Sonia Sotomayor, associate justice of the US Supreme Court


6. "Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures."—Cesar Chavez, Labor leader, organizer


7. "Raise a glass to freedom/Something they can never take away/No matter what they tell you."—Lin-Manuel Miranda from the musical Hamilton.


8. “We are always going to have prejudices … I don’t think we can change society. You can only change individual by individual. And you can change yourself.”—Esmeralda Santiago, author, actress


9. "I tell students that the opportunities I had were a result of having a good educational background. Education is what allows you to stand out."—Ellen Ochoa, astronaut, engineer


10. "You are not lucky to be here. The world needs your perspective. They are lucky to have you."—Antonio Tijerino, president & CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation


11. “You owe it to yourself to figure out who you are, but you don’t owe it to anyone else to explain or defend it.”—Soledad O’Brien, journalist, producer


12. “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”—Roberto Clemente, baseball player, philanthropist

Have a quotation that didn’t make this list? Share it with us in the comments.