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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 175

Statistics are interesting things. We know that between 2010 and 2020, the Hispanic population in EBR specifically grew 88%. But did we know that the number of students attending Louisiana public schools with limited English proficiency climbed from 15,500 in 2014 to 27,200 in 2021?

In 2021, English language learners accounted for 3.9% of the state's public school students. That means that of the 638,000 or so young people who were enrolled, almost 25,000 are learning to speak, read, and write English while they are learning Math, Science, History, and every other class offered in school. It’s no wonder most don’t graduate on time.

As you would expect, that stat has an impact on almost every aspect of their lives, their families, and their communities. But we can support them now and throughout their journey to being proficient in English. And that is part of the conversation we will have this Friday as we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Whether it is helping English language learners navigate schools and education or ensuring non-native English speakers get the healthcare they need, we are in the company of leaders who are helping our new neighbors get the services and care they need to succeed.

Cesar Rico - Executive Director of ESL at EBRPSS

Mariana Montero - Executive Director of Golden Change

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!



​​Pepper Roussel: Who was I talking to? I can't remember who I was talking to about healthcare and what does it mean for non native speakers to receive care? How does this work for language barriers? And so excited that Mariana just agreed to come to, to share a little bit about what that does look like and how Hispanics are supporting each other as well as others in this area.

But also. What does this look like during the government shutdown, right? So that's looming and how is that going to impact many programs?

Casey Phillips: Yeah, no doubt. And Pepper as you bringing up the government shutdown, right? I know that, we went back and forth a little bit. And we were talking about this morning.

If you think about the impact it's going to have immediately on folks with SNAP, right? And, all the different services that are frontline instead of just the posturing on Capitol Hill with folks wearing the white collared shirts and the red ties and the blue ties and and, the reality is that there are millions upon millions of people who are in a high stress, high anxiety moment right now, and not only that receive the benefits, but that deliver the benefits you Pepper, I'd love to I would love to get your perspective on that and like what kind of impact that you think you're going to have and see if we can get some feedback from the coalition.

Pepper Roussel: Yeah, so short version, long story is that it's, if we don't have a Farm Bill like tomorrow, there are a whole lot of things that are simply not going to be funded. Most people, when you hear the term farm bill, think specific of farms, and that's not all it is, right? So we've got a number of programs, as Casey just mentioned women, infants, and children, right?

So the WIC program, and you go into the grocery store and these things are approved, whether it's a juice or a cereal or something like that. But also SNAP benefits, so what used to be food stamps, it's now SNAP. These are programs that don't have as clear funding if we don't have a farm bill that's passed.

Yes, there is the question of how folks who are working in government are going to be paid for however long they are furloughed. Some of them will continue to go to work and won't be paid. Some of them will be able or qualified for no interest loans for the next month or two, which is great, but still really impactful for those of us in these organizations who who are grant funded by the feds, who may not have anybody who's actually going to manage that.

Whether it is, if we're talking about air travel so that is going to be directly impacted air traffic controllers and folks who may work in state and hospitals now veterans benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, as I understand it, those are still gonna run and still gonna function, but we still do have a number of things that are going to be considered and.

As we are continuing to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, those of our new neighbors who may not yet be full citizens or may not be permanent residents will also be first on first on the list of things to be impacted. I know that Casey wanted to find out from y'all wanted to find out from y'all what your impacts are and And Patrick Tuck, our development guy, knows more about how these these loans and grants and stuff are going to work.

Dr. Patrick Tuck: Yeah for those who are running federal grants right now, if if you're in the place where the funding has been approved or you've been, maybe a year or so or a couple of years into a grant, you have probably a little bit more security and having funds come in. If you're recently like September that's a very different thing because those funds are at a different location in the pipeline.

There are professionals around Baton Rouge who run a lot of federal grants and have insight as to where where you might be in the pipeline. So if anybody I don't want to fill up the chat with questions, but if we have a few and we want to gather some, I'm happy to to reach out to to federal employees or federal related employees to answer questions for folks.

Casey Phillips: Thanks, Patrick. Anybody else on the, anybody else on the call that the agency that they're running? Or you have insights that around the government shutdown that you think would be good to lift up and to put into the meeting notes so that others can read. Anybody on this call that has that?

Alright, it sounds like everybody's lost in the woods all at the same time. If you are one for prayer how can I say this, I don't know any other way of putting it than let's just pray for less political stupidity and posturing when it comes to impacting people's lives. Pepper, take it away, my friend.

Pepper Roussel: I'm done with that. Good morning, OneRouge. Happy Friday. And I am thankful that y'all, of course, are spending part of your Friday with us. We are continuing to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. And our guests are wearing blue. I was not included on that memo, whatever, here we are. I would like to invite Cesar Rico to start his off meeting because he's already off mute.

And Cesar, if you would not mind sharing with us who you are, what you do, and how we can be involved. If you want to sprinkle in how the government shutdown, a possible government shutdown would impact you, that's fine. Otherwise today's topic is... por mi gente, meaning for my people what is those of us who are new neighbors?

Those of us who maybe came to this country not speaking English as a first language, how it is that we, as if I moved anywhere, they are actually supporting not only Hispanic and Latino communities, but also the rest of us lazy bones.

Cesar Rico: Good morning everyone. Thank you Pepper so much. For the great introduction.

My name is Cesar Rico. I am the executive director with East Baton Rouge Parish School System. I am my department is the Department of English Second Language, ESL Department here at the Instructional Resource Center next to the Central Office. The gist of it is that we provide support services, and guidance on instructional and academic needs for our many English learners that come into our country as well as into our state and city and schools.

Of course, none of our students can ever be rejected. We want all our families, we welcome them, we strongly feel that the diversity that our many immigrant families as well as our families from around the country that come to us bring to our schools really does fulfill this great community that makes our schools so much better, right?

We support our kids in a variety of different ways. When English learners come into our district it's not just one kind of English learner. Kids come to us at different levels, and families come to us from all over the place, and some might be proficient in Spanish literacy, some might be able to speak well in English and Spanish.

Some might not know anything in regards to some type of bionic background and such. So we make sure that we use data and research based practices to support our content teachers as well as all personnel in all schools from pre K all the way up to 12th grade. Now there's a lot to that.

Our main goal is that we want to make sure that our kids are acquiring the academic. and language acquisition simultaneously. We don't want to separate them. We want to make sure that our kids are learning English and we're able to help them, but they're also learning social studies and science and math and English at the same time.

So our kids don't fall behind as they progress in their school. Another big component is to also continue to promote the language because another big fear of mine, of course, is that, a Kindergarten comes to the school in my fifth or sixth grade and not know Spanish anymore for instance, right?

So we want to make sure that we are promoting their culture that we want to make sure that we are supporting them as best as possible. And there's a lot of different elements to that and aspects to that, but just know that one, everything is research based and I collaborate with directors and superintendents and associate superintendents from all over the country.

Big, big shout outs to like Massachusetts, Dallas, San Antonio, California, Florida, and New York. So there's a lot of great places. And so what can we see is working and bring it to Baton Rouge with the. Means that we have possible to answer your question Pepper, in regards to the government shutdown and everything.

Of course, we don't want that. We want to be able to support our families as best as possible. And whenever they come to the IRC, whenever they come to our schools and everything we are very much solutions based. We see what the need is, and then we try to fulfill that need as best as possible within our district, or, with wonderful partners throughout the entire community, because there's a lot of people out there that want to be able to help and support our families, which is just absolutely fantastic.

Our English learner population, our Hispanic population specifically is the largest in our district, and it has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. And the last five years exactly it's grown 4.7%. Where just three years ago, I believe we had about 2,000 students test for English language proficiency test in the spring, and now we have about 5,000.

We're the second largest district with an ESL population. Jefferson Parish, our neighbors to the south of us they're they have the largest population as well. So we're constantly collaborating to make sure that we are supporting our kids, not just in our own cities, but of course the entire state.

And then just to go back a little bit in regards to myself, I am an immigrant. I was born in Honduras. I came here when I was about four or five to New Orleans. And I know that the supports and and services were a little bit different in New Orleans in the 1980s, early eighties, and so every time I go to a school, every time I go to see an event or a teacher or anything of the of the sort, right? I see myself at that age and I know the struggles that they went through, of course, and I know how difficult it can be. To be a very optimistic. I also know that with a great community with a lot of individuals that can support you and help you and guide you and not let you fail, anything is possible, and so we're able to make sure that we bring that optimism and that support and just really eagerness to learn and grow and help our kids not just graduate all the way through high school and on many pathways, but also to go ahead and be awesome members of our community.

Thank you. So I hope that kind of sums it up a little bit.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you so much. Yeah I honestly had not even really considered that a child would enter school and then at some point lose their native language, but that does make a lot of sense. And I know that we talked with Mariana once before about what does it mean for folks as they become adults who are trying to navigate these new systems.

Or even coming here without having known or being literate in English around healthcare. How do we get to a place that we are supporting them and not just translating the words, but also translating meaning, right? Mariana Montero, if you would not mind sharing with us who you are, what you do.

And if you want to sprinkle in what the government shutdown means to you, that's fine. I'm still talking about how you support your community.

Mariana Montero: I am Mariana Montero, originally from Ecuador, and I am the Executive Director and Founder of Golden Change. Thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this.

I love when you say “Por mi gente, porque de verdad”, I believe in that. I love people. That is what I do all my life, helping everybody here. What I can say is Golden Change is a non-profit organization that addresses mental health and domestic violence issues On the Latino community, another minority. The purpose is to provide education building the self-esteem and improve country resolutions.

Still, see Golden Change was created 13 years ago. With the need of this programs in Spanish for our community and domestic violence, as a believer, I found in this organization with a passion and knowledge that I really want to help my people. As you say, I am a facilitator and non-violence programs through the dual curriculum, and also have a 20 years of experience as a prevention educator.

My background is engineering, but I love people. That is what I am doing now. I am very proud to be a Hispanic and be a be a Hispanic entrepreneur because that is what I did. I started my Golden Change Inc. and other companies too. My greatest job join is to be able to serve our community and serve as a liaison among the different communities and change.

Golden Change has three programs. One is the skill development communication, the other is domestic violence, and the third one is anger management. What we do is, we facilitate empowerment courses in the different type of labels of communication and human relationship. Also, we offer a curriculum of non-violence.

I don't know if you're familiar with the Duluth curriculum, which is approved by the court. for these programs of creating a process of change for men and women who battled. And also we had a group support in my best interest for victims. Can be a man or can be a woman. I am also given tools how to learn to manage anger.

All these three programs are in New Orleans and now I am starting in Baton Rouge. And we're also in Lafayette with some programs with the domestic violence and what I can tell you that we as a Hispanic, I feel so related to these people in need because Golden Change not only has these programs, but also is helping the community to have access to other services in town.

I can say that the Golden Change. I'm only the liaison; the organization is integrated, with the different organizations, different companies or different communities, to offer to the people the services that are available. So right now we are working very closely with the NIH, the National Institute of Health, providing and, information about their research program.

We, as an organization, we educate and inform and awareness the Hispanic community about health. And this also gives our clients the opportunity to know about their own health and to be referred for treatment of different diseases, like prevention, health prevention. Because of Golden Change, I feel so proud. They, come to us and leave with a lot of support.

With NIH, I have the Xavier University, Dillard's University. I have a, also the University of New Orleans. And now, with NIH, I can see all these programs that are available to educate the community. And I am there. As Mariana Montero, I have this because my heart is with the community.

And my enthusiasm is there, and that I am here talking about in this month, or the Hispanic Heritage Month, where I feel so proud to say that I am a Latina.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you, Mariana. Thank you ever so much. I as you, as I was listening to you talk about how we in our communities, our Latino and Hispanic communities, that there is a need.

My goodness, a need for anger management and, there because of domestic violence, that is something that really does span that crosses the board. Yeah, but it's also it reminds me of a conversation I've had a couple of times with Marcella. I think Marcella's on. Oh, there's Marcella. I've had with Marcella about, you How it is that we have folks who are new to the country who may not have commanded the English language.

And so this is where we get to ESL as well, who are functioning as translators for the parents. So help me from both of your perspectives. Help me understand how it is that we can provide better. So what does that look like first and foremost and how can we provide? But our support for folks who are in situations, particularly children who find themselves in, this middle ground between being too grown up, too grown for the too grown for their age, right?

Because they should not be involved in these conversations. But we also don't necessarily have the resources available to keep them out of the situation.

Cesar Rico: I'll jump in first real quick. One of the things, there's a big question. There's a lot of different things. So we can do Pepper. It definitely things to make sure that we are educating the adults that are around the kids the most. We whether it's a content teacher, a paraprofessional, whether it's our counselors or our nurses, we have a variety of individuals, for instance, in our schools.

Some that are able to support our kids, but we have to make sure that we are very culturally empathetic to our kids when they're coming to our schools. This, one of the biggest things I can tell anyone at a school to support English learners, for instance, is the number one thing is to create those relationships.

Because in doing so, you will get to know the family, their family life, their background, where they came from, what their many struggles came from, whether they're coming from a war torn country, or they're just coming across the border somewhere, or they might have just moved three or four times from different states.

There's just lots of different... Different situations that they may have already undergone and as a result, we have to make sure that once we establish those relationships and realize that, maybe this student, this child does need different kinds of support and such. from there, then we have to make sure that the experts are able to support them and help them in their native language.

We can do that a variety of ways. Specifically, we have translators throughout the entire district. Of course, I know our person reached out to the way, which is fantastic. Marcella, you said was on here. I can't brag about her enough. She's so awesome. And so as a result, we have to make sure that they are One, understanding that they have supports that can help them to, we have to make sure that in doing so we're able to provide the resources and translations that they need, of course.

And then three, which I think is also a big thing is the follow up, it's not a one and done. thing. Just as an educator, I taught for 12 years was this principle as a principle. We have to make sure that we're constantly monitoring and checking and following through with the support that, we are able to provide because in some situations it might just, be a short term solution.

But in others, it might take a very long time to be able to continue to support the kids, right? And so I think it is a very much collaborative report approach. So thank you.

Mariana Montero: Yeah, like Cesar said, I believe that the curriculum is very important for them to learn, regular classes, but at Golden Change we start with a social skill development with different programs for mental health, Life Skills, Too Good for Drugs, Action Parenting, all these programs are offering to the school system.

To help the transition, to give a little, like help to really, get adjusted to this country. That is one of the biggest pro programs that we have also for the, this food system and the community.

Pepper Roussel: I totally get that. Marcela?

Marcela Hernandez: Hi, everyone. Okay. I just want to say, what you said is very important, okay, which is the fact of bringing minors into that conversation and we're not talking about regular conversation on a daily basis.

We're talking about minors in mental health settings. We're talking about minors interpreting medical wordings in court like we're talking about Okay. putting so much pressure on a child's life to interpret things that they don't even know. There's not even the proper wordings for them.

So I definitely agree with Cesar with what he said about educating the parents as well. So that's why we have to continue pushing ESL classes because we understand that this is not something entirely. a responsibility of other organizations, but also we have to put some responsibility on the parents as well.

But then at the same time, how we, and I said that last week, how we as organizations are incorporating cultural competent services for those that are non-English learners or speakers. So making sure that you have interpretation services if your budget allows, and if not making sure that you have collaborations with other organizations like LORI or making sure that you have the phone number of all of those different organizations that we're working towards that closing the gap in between our communities in need and also the services that are already allocated.

But definitely, that is a big deal. Please not stop putting our kids as a bridge in between institutions and their parents because that is not their responsibility. That is not, they should not be doing that. And we got to take that stress out of their back.

Pepper Roussel: Absolutely, Marcela. I think that a lot of us don't necessarily have that at the forefront of our minds, right? So the first thing that we think is, oh this kid speaks both languages. And so they can, they can tell their parents what's going on.

But I think it's important to remember that this is still a 10-year-old, right? This is still a 12-year-old who doesn't have the same life experience that would give them the, as Marcela mentioned, the language to correctly interpret the words. And then there's some situations that they simply should not be there for. Just as you would look at your 10-year-old, 12-year-old and say, maybe they shouldn't be here for my pap smear.

Maybe they should not be here for my colonoscopy. Maybe, having discussions around incarceration and domestic violence and other sorts of, criminal justice issues or criminal injustice issues, depending upon your look on things is not a place for a child. And so I agree wholeheartedly.

How do we vote? Because these are all things that are directly related to poverty and keeping folks In areas and in situations that they have a difficult time, not only navigating, but also providing for self. How do we expand into expand this knowledge, expand this consciousness into other organizations?

Something Marcela said last week that still sticks with me is having one organization doing this work is not the answer, right? We've all got to do something. So Cesar, as you enter, trying to make sure that there is cultural competency for students in EBR Parish. What would your advice be?

What would your guidance be for organizations that are not Golden Change? You're not entering with this known understanding. What do we do?

Cesar Rico: Absolutely. What a wonderful question. And so greatest thing I've ever seen really is just the concept of when communities come together. If you're a business, right?

If you are or any type of institution or service or anything that anybody provides a service, you have schools around you, just get involved, get to know exactly, the population in the school and how you can actually go in and volunteer. If you provide services, can you provide services, right?

Get in contact with the leadership, of the school district and of course, schools and such. There are so many things that we as a community can go in and provide within our own community. So I said it best right there in regards to it's not the responsibility of one institution kind of thing.

It's definitely, the parents are always the primary educators of any child. But then we can all support, of course, regards to how we can come together. Just to let you guys know, it's like South Baton Rouge is very different, than for instance, the North Baton Rouge or mid city, or the Sherwood area, these are all different hubs.

We all have very similar challenges and such, and we all have very similar opportunities and such. So we have to make sure that, we are coming together as a community to go in. and just start those conversations, communicate, get involved with someone who can go ahead and participate.

Again, I love going into all aspects and all different parts of the city just to go ahead and see how I can provide support and help. The cool thing is whenever you do that in one section, And then you go and discuss something with another section, you might not have the answer, but you might know someone who does, Hey, I know someone who runs this great organization that can be able to help you out.

I know this one person who might be able to support you with their knowledge and wisdom, right? So I think that community based communication and collaboration will be able to support our kids and our families very well.

Mariana Montero: This definitely the integrating the need and the service is very important because, did I say, we need to, every organization, we need to go and engage that community, engage in the schools, engage in the system to know what is the need there. Because I, we have to be clear that so many organizations are here, and they really want to help but they know how to get to the Hispanic community. We, as I say, we as a Hispanic, for me, was easy to understand the how they feel, but it is the same as me. There is so much information out there that the, any other organization can be involved. Right now we are celebrating the Hispanic Heritage Month, and I know everybody loves the music, you love the food, love the, the culture.

But it is the best way is to get involved, more and more with the Hispanic community. Go and volunteer! It really helps these kids, the newcomers - engagement is the key. We are integrating like Cesar sandid. A diversity is here, everybody's coming from somewhere. It's nobody is originally really 100% of the United States, we know that.

We have that in mind, that we can help, so we get involved in all these issues that really need our focus now.

Pepper Roussel: So I have a question now that I wasn't intending to ask, but I'm going to ask it now because because Mariana said something about integrating that, that feels important to me.

A lot of organizations can't find Hispanics and don't know once the, once they have found Hispanic communities, how to integrate into them. What would be your advice, your guidance to those of us who are non Hispanics to not, to, how do we enter and integrate into communities that we want to help and want to support without it feeling as if we are, Just parachuting in to extract, to take information and bring it back to other communities, to non Hispanic communities.

Cesar Rico: That's great. So I'm just going to piggyback off of the previous comments and everything, just because I thought it was so relevant and it goes through the question paper. So going to the places and the hubs where, for instance, if I just got into this country, I feel safe and everything.

And I know that's something that, is important to me, I would say speaking to the leadership of that specifically, of course, there's many churches throughout our entire city, where a lot of our Hispanic families go. There's definitely a lot of pastors and priests, and individuals who will be more than happy to sit down and talk because a lot of times they are the ones who are able to say, hey, listen, we need support here or we need help there, so that's just one area for sure.

The other one is. It's food, you've got fantastic restaurants, and we've got great, Latin markets everywhere, in our city going there as well, you just talk to the manager one time, say, “Hey, listen, I'm just trying to get more involved kind of thing, is there anyone, or anything like that,” I've done that myself and they're like, that's awesome.

Funny that you ask because I do actually know of a need, right? And then the last one, I think, which I just touched on, is definitely our schools, come visit us. If you go to our main awesome schools with a high English language population, just a high Hispanic population period, for instance, or even a Vietnamese population, you're going to see that the moment you walk in and you talk to a principal or assistant principal, they're going to welcome you.

They might even give you a tour or something if you want, and they'll be like, look, this is how we You can help out these babies here. This is how you can help out, creating, knowledge for our seniors, or juniors, for once they graduate or different pathways, right?

Cause I'll tell you what, I can't tell you how valuable an individual in any professionally bilingual is, I've gotten that. So much, and so we want to continue to create those opportunities for our families because we do have a lot to offer. And I keep on getting that over and over again.

So I hope that kind of helps a little bit.

Mariana Montero: Yes, again, having services that meet the need of the community, it's a bit hard to have effective social and health services. We need to really go and engage as a volunteer. You really want to know about the culture, about the needs? You have to volunteer! You have to go there and find out, what is the need for them.

Ensure that the intent to help is accessible to them. It's not easy to really transmit that message because many Hispanic feel that they are being used, only for the grants or for events. And we specifically have to really be very sensitive to that and their culture and being a Latino. I am from South America and I have different food than in Central America.

I have different music, I am still a Hispanic, but it's not, it is not the same. So, when you go to talk to a Hispanic, you have to be very sensitive to where they are coming from. So for example, I know every word that you learn here in Spanish has meaning, but it is not the same meaning for every Latino in this country. That is one of the big things that I always advise organizations - to be sensitive.

At Golden Change, we have also a program to engage a organization and communities. We are, like I say, a liaison, we do presentations about the culture, about how we are different as Hispanics. and the need to get involved in the community, especially now with all of this with the research program. It's so interesting how people really are believing and trust organizations in the area of health, not only mental health, but also physical health.

And I am so happy that I have good results right now. As for this project , iut is the same thing in any kind of education that we can offer to the community, especially to the youth. They really need help, start there, and help even so they are coming from different cultures.

The youth are facing the technology here that is different than they had at home. They could be facing hard things in other areas that have never been familiar. That is something that always we have to be sensitive to their knowledge and try to help them how to engage in this community. How to really learn about this culture. I think volunteering is a good answer also for any organization to be part of.

Pepper Roussel: That's really helpful because we don't want to, we don't want to just extract from the community, right? A lot of us are very genuine in our desire to be involved and to be able to understand and to learn. Marcela, did you want to contribute something?

Marcela Hernandez: I just want to add to what they said.

I think that, that is the magic insert to a very complicated question. Because that's... It's an honest thought that I have. I really believe that the majority of the people wants to provide services to the immigrant community. I sincerely believe that's the heart of the people.

They want to provide those services, but they just don't know how, right? And in many instances, they're just not aware of the many challenges that the immigrant community faces. But if we go through that, I think that. Supporting immigrant businesses is one really good strategy to, to get, into the immigrant community, supporting campaigns like welcoming city campaigns, like the campaign that we're just launching here, and then supporting any other type of inclusive campaigns that bring, this communities together.

But I think the most important thing is. Making friendships and relationships with people that already have that relationship with those immigrant communities. And I'm going to give you an example. Lori, or if you, for example, call me and you said, “Hey, Marcella, we have this major project. Or, I know with Cesar as well, and with Mariana.”

You call us and you said we have this major project. Can you please help us get in this? Can we create a partnership? Because we are a trusted voice within our community and because we already have the relationship with the pastors, with the business, and with our entire immigrant community, it's so much easier for us just to pick up the phone and say, This is what's happening and it's just we're closing the gap right there and then because there's a trust issue and it's a valuable and understandable trust issue.

Our community members respond really well to the initiatives that are brought when they know that is coming from a trusted place where from a trusted person. So I just said definitely push in. Those relationships that you have with those that are immigrant that could potentially help your organization or with your projects and making sure that those are the people that are helping you to go through the, the initial issues to establish those initial relationships with community members.

Cesar Rico: Mariana, great job. That's exactly what I was thinking as well. And then just in regards to the relationships and everything, Marcela just said it, I was literally thinking, everything that she just said.

Absolutely well said, and please, by all means, reach out, it's sometimes it's just a simple, as Marcela says, reaching out to individuals to see if we can bridge some of those gaps to go ahead and create those relationships and, integrate our immigrant families and provide more opportunities.

But yeah, as Mariana said, but there's an event, there's something that we can support, by all means, please do it's it's worthwhile and it helps out everyone. Absolutely. Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: No, thank you. I really appreciate it, right? Because I don't want to be contributing to a performative extraction of culture and as instead of really and genuinely integrating this thought process and understanding how else it is that we need to be considering not just poverty, but also housing and food and education and healthcare and all of the things that, yes, impact all of us in every community, but in a different and more, I would say pointed way if you don't have a a support system, if you are already struggling with a language barrier. I've been an immigrant twice in my life both over summers, so they were very short lived experiences, but it's hard, it's super hard, and I applaud anybody who's willing to do it, and I certainly wouldn't want like I said, just to contribute to the delinquency of any sort of organization that's not in there doing the right thing for all the right reasons.

Anyway! Now that I'm putting away my soapbox, I haven't seen any questions that are coming up in the chat. So if you have anything that you want to know, please ask the question in the chat, raise your hand and let me know and we will cede the floor and and give you that space. While we are talking about poverty and language barriers and and your people As a moment of personal privilege, I will honestly say that I got the por mi gente from Mark Anthony's songs.

Anyways, all the old people who remember Manudo, that's what I'm talking about.

Casey Phillips: Yeah. Pepper, when you said that, there's not the question to the chat. It occurs to me the entire time for the 45 minutes, these three humans, everything that they shared was like almost in the same frequency, right in the middle, like everything that they were saying was in complete alignment.

And I feel like that just know, that you have a moment of truth, that this is what the answer is when you have three individuals who are doing the work. from three almost different sides of systems. And they're all saying the same thing. I hope everyone's just taking notes like I have been, and on how your organization can be part of something because you are, whether you know that you are or not.

And I love Mr. Rico just saying, if you're trying to figure out how to support, just walk into a school, and you'll be greeted with a smile and an introduction, and it's that easy. It's... It's literally that easy. All you have to do is walk through the door, which is something that I would like to I would like to jump in on when we do community announcements.

So I'll turn it back over to you, Pepper.

Pepper Roussel: I was unprepared to come off mute anyway. Yeah. So I heading down the pathway of the work that you do and the, and so it's a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. How did you get into the work that you're doing? What are the and the reason I'm asking is to find out the lessons that we can learn for not only the motives the pathway.

How do we what do we need to know? Tell us all.

Cesar Rico: I guess I'll go first. Sorry, but I knew you wanna go first. Okay. I'm a Rather unique situation. I think again, growing up in New Orleans I went to school. I'm the youngest of six by seven years. And so my brothers and sisters when they came here they're fantastic, all smart, all very gifted and everything.

But they didn't have and they didn't know, honestly how they were supposed to maneuver the high school and middle school pathways. None of my siblings graduated high school. And so when I came through and validate my mom and my stepfather and my many siblings, make sure that they made sure that I focused on school and being able to have that those opportunities that maybe they just didn't know about.

The other thing was that I had, look, I had several teachers, I'm telling you right now, several teachers like can name right now in third grade and fifth grade, and definitely in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade and in high school and then eventually in college, who didn't know any Spanish at all when I came here and I knew nothing but Spanish.

They said I don't know any Spanish, but guess what? I read a book or I looked at this and we're going to go ahead and roll up our sleeves and you're going to learn, we're not going to use this as some kind of crutch. We're going to use this instead as an opportunity.

We're going to use this as something that you're going to be able to utilize and help. And so I had a lot of good teachers that, that actually were able to inspire me to say the least. And so as a result, I was able to go to LSU. Thank you. So I was the first one in my family to go to college and I got a lot of cousins, y'all.

So I'm the youngest of six, but I got lots and lots of cousins. My mom's the youngest. There's the oldest of seven. And so the point is that my entire family the first one to go to college, let alone graduate with a master's degree. And then from there, I was a teacher for 12 years and teachers are my heroes, they're.

One of my many heroes. But the point is that I never wanted to not be a teacher. That was it. I'll teach middle school middle school English language arts or something, and then from there an opportunity came to where I was told that I had to go and join EBR Parrish school system as an assistant principal because, they needed more Hispanic leaders in sports.

So instead of saying, No I'm comfortable where I'm at. I got out of my comfort zone and I made sure that I took that opportunity and a lot of prayers. Of course, I was an assistant principal until about the flood of 2016. Then I became a principal.

Same thing. Never wanted to leave after being assistant principal. I love being, that's the best job in the world. Just let you guys know. Next to being a teacher and then but then opportunity came with my school that said, Hey, look, you have to we need you to be a principal. And I didn't want to do that, again.

And so I was like it's out of my comfort zone, but I feel like I can help others more. I did that and I love my school and I wanted to be a principal forever until our superintendent said, guess what, we need an ESL department, period, and as a result, we need an executive director to help oversee this, and get it going in the next few years.

And so that's what brought me here. I never wanted to leave the schools at all, but now it's if you have an opportunity to go ahead and help others then one, you have to make sure that You take those opportunities because you may never get them again, and two, the impact that you might have on many other individuals, you may never even know, right?

And three, never always make sure that, if people are trying to help you, you accept that help, so that way you can give it, pass it on tenfold. That's going to be just a bit.

Mariana Montero: Yes, I came as an adult. I was already a professional in Ecuador, but the one day I decided I need to learn the new language because most of my family was here in the United States so I came to do a master's degree and then, I have one of my sisters here and she said, "no, come to learn English" because she knows me and she knew that I could not learn English in six months.

That was the offer with my master's degree. But when I decided to go, she was living here in Mandeville and Covington. And I was there, isolated. There was no Latinos there in the time I came. I had to face not only the barriers of the language the communication but also that I lost the life that I used to have in Ecuador.

But, there were challenges there, but those barriers really empowered me to continue to study here because I still, in the present, like I always say, the language has been the barrier. I work and continue to work on learning the English language. And still, when I have to write, I have to really pay attention to the language.

When I came here, I did my MBA at the University of New Orleans, and I learned how to make my own company. One of the projects was to found my own company. I did everything. And the blessing was, in 45 days, I had a 501c3, a non profit. Because I had been, working as a volunteer for many years with different organizations in town.

And even as a volunteer, everybody knew what was my job and I they gave me the organization in 45 days, the 501c3. I started Golden Change. because As a Latina, I feel that I need to transmit it. That process of transition that I have, even though I was an adult, was very hard to get adjusted to this country.

Not only the language, the culture, the people, the traditions, everything, to the newcomers, not only young people, but also adults. So then I started, I said, okay, I want to transmit it, that I feel what they are feeling right now. I know how many times I had to get to the bathroom and get up crying and get out. And everybody was asking me, what your eyes are red? And I used to say, "oh, it was the soap".

No, I was like really missing, everything, but I hd, I was a professional there. But I say, if I am here, I am that kind of person. But like other Hispanics, when we want to get something, we go for it. And we don't stop.

We are persistent. We are positive. We have a good attitude. I think that helped a lot to get where we are going to get. But then, when I had Golden Change, it was not made overnight. I needed a lot of support from friends, from family, from my mentors. I have wonderful mentors. They always say, Mariana, you talk with your heart.

Everything left in your brain, talk with your heart. That is what I learned, to talk to with my heart and that is the best way. I have been using all my life here and I feel that I transmit a message not only helping the youth, but also when I was working in human resources for the McDonald's corporation. They gave me the opportunity to really help Latinos to get involved in their corporations, to help and really do customer service.

As for me, my passion, my love for people made me a success. And I am so happy the woman I am. I have the slogan "Be the change you you want to see in the world" Oh yeah. That's a good one.

Pepper Roussel: Yeah. Thank you.

Thank you both of you for sharing that backstory. It is super helpful. Also, thanks to our very own Alfredo Cruz, who is in the chat. I didn't know you were here until I saw you in the chat that says that we need to build relationships. And I think that's super valid. We need to build our own relationships and not just rely upon these organizations.

And so there is a question, how do y'all have any any sort of insight or suggestions on building relationships just with neighbors? Who, or neighbors and friends or people, when I say friends, random people I see in the grocery store who may not be native English speakers. How do we even go about starting to build those, build relationships with folks that you can't even really talk to without Google Translate.

Although I've had really good relationships through Google Translate.

Cesar Rico: A lot of times I think one thing that's because we come from different cultures, right? We fail to realize that we have so many things in common, and we don't even realize it, right? Finding those commonalities to go ahead and have those conversations with an individual who may not even speak any Spanish, English, excuse me, only speak Spanish, will create these relationships that will, you know, escalate and have a domino effect to other things, right?

Whether it's a work thing and whether it's, oh, look, we're both you look like you know what you're doing when it comes to the gardening and I need to learn about gardening, or, hey, are you interested in technology? Because I'm really good at this. Can I show you something?

I'll give you a really cool example. My 14-year-old son Gabriel plays competitive soccer over at Burbank, right? And we have a very diverse team. They're great. I'm bragging on them. They're number one in the state right now, the 08 age group. But we've got Two parents that three parents actually that came straight from El Salvador and Honduras, right?

And a couple of them, especially one, one family don't know any English, not a single word of English, right? However... All the parents, who only speak English they have made an effort to learn a little bit of Spanish and then our Spanish families have made an effort to learn a little bit of English because they have the commonality, of course, of soccer and they know soccer and so it's we know this and you know this and they're totally agreeing and speaking to each other in English and Spanish and Spanglish, right?

Which is fantastic. And then at the end of the day, right? They realize that the real commonality that they have the real factor is their kids, you know That's what's really important there that they're there for their kids their parents who want to go see their kids, you know So it's wow, it's we care so much about the exact same thing, And then that passion of course leads to great relationships.

Now, I'll just give you one example about soccer and kids, right? But there's so many different things that we can do with the talents that we have and the abilities that we have and the people that we encounter on a daily basis. Like I was saying earlier, when you have those opportunities, don't let them go to waste, let them flourish, right?

Cause it's always a wonderful thing whenever you can build those relationships. Great question. Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: No doubt. All right. So another, Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Mariana Montero: Yeah. Yes. When you really want to establish a relationship with somebody, there's not a wrong question you can ask. I learned that I can ask whatever; there is not a wrong question.

Maybe they don't have the answer it's something else, but the question is there. Something that I really think is very important is volunteering in different events. For example, health fairs, job fairs, different events in the community. That gives the opportunity to connect with other people, to talk with other people, to learn more about.

Other groups, other communities. That is, I advise everybody. It's not something that everything has to be paid. But we, I am telling you, as much volunteering as I do, as much income I have. I don't know how, but that is. But then, it's very important that we volunteer. We share information too.

They were mentioning. Yes. Every time they came to me, any information, any event I publish in my page, I don't, I don't care. I do it because I would like other people to know about it. That is very important. Sharing involving the others is, helping to communicate with others.

Pepper Roussel: So, speaking of communication how can we get I'm sorry, let me make sure that I am not misstating the question. How can our organizations translate written materials for non English readers affordably?

Mariana Montero: That is something that I just learned that, so many people do the translations, but they are not really adequate, the general translation that everybody will understand. So we have to be very careful. Even though I am Latina, when people ask me, ah, you speak Spanish; can you do a translation, I say no.

I am not translating. I am not doing any interpretations. I am in the process of learning the language. I say, no, I cannot do it. And that is it. I advise the Hispanic community. Don't accept that because not everybody is, has the education to really do a translation.

We did a big group for all of our research programs from different universities, different organizations to review documentation they had translated. And there were a lot of things that we suggested to change because it wasn't you know the good words to really communicate everybody in the Hispanic community. I advise if you have any material that you want to translate, use organizations that really are for that to translation and every time that you want to get with the Latinos, the Hispanic community, you have to have The Spanish material, but you cannot go here with the English and also use pictures of people.

They are related. That was something that I always say, okay, if they have a oriental person talking to the Hispanic community, because it's no point and for them to really listening and be involved, they have to feel related. But that is another thing they always say is you do material, you have to do appropriate with pictures and everything for that community.

Cesar Rico: Yeah, Mariana is is absolutely correct. There's a difference between the word interpretation and translation and depending my question would be, of course, what's the document, what's the meaning or the purpose or even a poster, whatever the case may be, of course, there are individuals that depending on the situation and what is being transcribed, for instance, you have to be a trained instructor.

Individual in those realms. Now in just the basic course of just maybe casual translations, I would say as Mario was saying, make sure that you trust the source, and then we do have to have some kind of common sense in regards to this, as someone saying, I'm going to charge you, X, Y, and Z just to get something, translated.

And that's common sense to tell, that's not very that's not. Correct. But there are organizations or individuals that are able to support, whether it's a local Google search kind of thing, or maybe just reaching out to one of our many partners and again, building those relationships in our district, we do have translators, for instance, for our schools and our personnel and teachers and meetings.

So that sort of extent that extends to our families as well. Whenever they need something, that has to do with our School system, for instance, so we're able to support in those realms with our translators. It's still they can't, for instance, transcribe, or interpret certain documents, right?

We had to have different agencies to go ahead and do that, yeah the gist of it is, we're gonna have to use some common sense to come together to make sure that we are having the right individuals who are able to support in these translation purposes.

Pepper Roussel: Oh, common sense. Now it's just crazy talk. So I, I do have a question for you, Cesar. And then Alfredo, if you are in a position to come off mute, I would love to hear something from you. I'll ask that question in a second. What is the ESL department doing to ensure that non English speaking parents are aware of their children's matters?

Like school activities and resources. Is there a hub for parents?

Cesar Rico: When we say a hub first of all, every this is bulletin 471, everything, every individual person at a school is responsible for the education of a student. So we are not going to segregate it in any realm or any way.

So whatever, we're doing for our traditional English speaking students, we want to make sure that our Spanish or Vietnamese speaking students or any other student, for instance, has the same opportunities, right? Now the process works that if it's, if a family, for instance. Just got to this country or just got into our district.

They would come here first. They would come to the IRC and we would help them with the pre planning process and that includes everything from registration or if they have transcripts of their older kids or whatever the case may be, they would come here first and we would literally help them out with everything.

So that way from there, we would communicate with the school and they would just have to bring the packet to the school and they would enroll immediately. No questions asked. We've already done the work with them to try to empower them to go ahead and do that. Furthermore, to follow up and everything, we make sure that we keep track of them in our system.

We screen the kids and everything, just for language acquisition to see how we can best help them purposes, and then from there we monitor them and to ensure that they are getting the support that they need. Now, in regards to communication, for instance with families, the parents, the guardians, excuse me the teacher is the number one person at the school who interacts the most with the child and the families, which means that if there's ever anything from a parent teacher meeting.

there is ever any type of situation where we have to call the parents or anything like that. And let's just say they only speak Spanish and such, right? We actually have district phones that our ambassadors have. They can just go ahead and do that for them, or they can go ahead and set up through our ESL Google form and we can set up meetings to schedule things for our families and our schools to be that.

Bridge between the language the language barriers that they might have and such. I guess to kinda answer your question, pepper, we are the hub, , we are the we are the central location and stuff where we are able to provide those supports, but it extends to all our 80+ schools and our 40,000 kids and our 5,000 ELS, if that makes sense.

Pepper Roussel: It does indeed. And so thank you for that ire. I appreciate it. Alfredo, you put something in the chat that warmed the cockles of my heart. I don't know, it was words, bring cookies. In order to do that, though, you need to be able to, if you're knocking on a door, there's gotta be somebody who's housed.

And I, if you can you share with us? Your work, we all know that you work in housing, but how does this look different for those who are in the Latino and Hispanic community being housed, being unhoused the work that you do and the support that you give to that community?

Alfredo Cruz: Hey, thanks, Pepper. I think keeping in mind that why folks are migrating, emigrating, immigrating from their own countries to this country. is to be better housed. So it's ironic that the conditions that they're forced to some of the worst housing conditions and yet many of them settled for that because it's even better than what they would have in their own countries, not necessarily because of the unit itself.

I'd have a lot of image safer. They know they're not going to get killed. A lot of the times people immigrating because of that reason because When they walk out of their house, there might be a gang, some military, there might be some war condition that makes them fear for their life. And that's the reality.

And I think, unfortunately, a lot of immigrants who are opting to live in very bad housing conditions choose to do that and choose to continue living in the US and I've heard just Assuming this, I've heard this myself, it's better, it's safer than where I would live in my own country. But it doesn't make it right, and there's a lot of predatory landlords who are, who know this, and are abusing this.

These are folks who don't qualify for a choice voucher, qualify for Section 8, and cash. And they're paying cash regardless of whether their stove gets fixed, their refrigerator gets fixed, ceiling gets fixed. The leak gets fixed. The roof continues to leak. They're paying cash regardless of any of that because they're not going to get killed.

Their children are not going to get killed when they walk outside. As harsh as that may sound, that is the reality for a lot of people who are immigrating here from Latin America, from Middle Eastern countries. If they're LGBTQ plus people it is also true for them. Because they're not going to be persecuted for who they are, for being who they are, and they're not going to get killed for being who they are.

But it doesn't make it right, and I think we need to speak out and to really demand that these landlords don't continue to do business on the backs of these immigrants. We started doing some work bringing people's support to these. There's a huge journey in relationship building with those communities because of the fear that they have not for us, but for systems that have abused them, that have put their lives in jeopardy.

So the fear is less about the people, it's more about the systems that have oppressed them and have forced them out of their countries. And it's a lot of work and it's a long journey and I'm grateful for LORI, for the Fair Housing Action Center, Southern University, Southeastern Legal Services, have really stepped up to help us provide legal support when we're living in these conditions. Thanks Pepper. It's what I have to share.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you. It finally explains the, “Let's Fix It” title to to, yeah, the, to your business, your organization.

I was wondering if maybe the, let's Fix it was about, actually fixing a thing that was wrong, but it's a larger, more systemic thing. Thank you for sharing. Now I know, I feel.

All right. So speaking of political systems, there is another question for and this will be the last one. There's another question for Cesar. How overcoming political challenges or how can we overcome political challenges in a non immigrant system?

Cesar Rico: Trying to understand the question in regards to maybe barriers that our immigrants might have due to political reasons. Yes, okay. At least with the school system, I'm sure a lot of us can agree on everything. Are immigrants still have rights, just being into, of this country and our city and state and such, and for instance, just coming into the school system, we're not going to turn anybody down, regardless of their status and such, we're going to help them out here and then we're going to make sure that they get the education and proper services that they need. I think that's a two part question in regards to making sure that whatever the need of the family and student for instance, needs first let's see if we can take care of that as much as possible.

And the other side of that coin, of course, is making sure that we are advocating and doing our part as best as possible to try to change whether it's legislation or just communication or collaborating some of those political barriers to make sure that our immigrants and our really Hispanic population or any type of immigrant population is able to equitably be.

Supported and served as best as possible. 'cause ultimately we wanna make sure that we're all coming together and we are unifying for for a better city, state, and country. So I hope that kind of helps, but there's a lot more to the other question and

Pepper Roussel: No, I'm sure there is I'm sure there is and I thank you for that It sounds like to me just to I guess to synthesize some of the things I heard the last couple of minutes That even that if we are interested in doing this work and incorporating or into injecting ourselves into immigrant communities, that part of what we can do as native English speakers, or even as only English speakers, would be to work on adjusting the systems that are creating additional barriers, not just for kids in school, but also for folks who are looking for safe housing that is free of rats, roaches, mold and that are giving everyone an opportunity to not only live a healthy, but also a successful and full life.

So if I got that then I would like to move to a moment of joy, Nicola Hall. Is there anything that you'd like to share with us?

Casey Phillips: Speaking of the importance of policy and schools. Speaking of Nicola Hall.

Nichola Hall: Hey good morning. So a couple things that always give me joy, every Friday morning I look forward to, even if I have to carve out 30 minutes of my time to hear some good things, because it's a struggle over here sometimes, just to be in a space where the jujus are working really awesomely, and I, and the second thing is, Mr. Rico, As an immigrant to another immigrant, there's a level of appreciation for the work that you do with my Spanglish. So I had to come in and give you major kudos and support, etc. Love, love the Hispanic community because we have similar personalities and struggles, etc. So this is always a good space to be in.

But I just drop a plug in the chat. Last night, along with our good food purchasing and wellness policy, which I'm going to talk about in a little bit, the immigration policy was board approved. It only took a year, y'all. Only took a year, but it's major. You know anybody out here who got a degree.

Who's looking for a job and they're struggling with immigration status and all that stuff. You send them my way. 'cause I'm able to plug some holes and vacancies and they have to commit to us, which is also the greatest thing about this. Commit to EDR for a, number of years. So that's Stabilize my vacancy and let me sleep at night.

So I just want to drop that in there and I'll share out with the one root coalition of the actual policy. So you could share it out to the world. Okay. So I'm going to drop that in there. Okay. The other two things that I'm super, super excited about is the wellness policy, which has been antiquated and outdated since 2017.

only took how many years to get that going, but it's major. It's major. And then to tie that in with the good food purchasing policy that we worked with the one rich coalition three o'clock project, et cetera, et cetera. American heart association, chef Tracy's on here. I think I saw her beautiful face.

There she is. I'm telling you all, it's a good day. It's a very few Fridays I get up apart from coming to this meeting. It's a good day. So it's a lot of celebration. And then, a really cool person was elected or appointed to be a part of the board, which is so a true appreciation for the work from a child nutrition standpoint to help to the.

Bridge the gap with the communication standpoint and the appreciation for the things that we're doing. It's a good day. It's a real good day. So today, yes, it is. I'm going to roll up a cigar and have a glass of wine and I will be having a good night tonight. So I just wanted to say thank you all for the much love and appreciation and thank you so much for the work that y'all are doing.

Casey Phillips: Yeah, thank you. Congratulations. Yeah, congratulations. Two huge wins. And and speaking of thank yous, I wanna make sure and say thanks to all of our distinguished speakers today. Everybody giving up. That's it. This was this is a vibration today. And definitely help stretch our brains and our hearts a little bit further today.

I appreciate that. And and I really do wanna emphasize just how hard Nicola and Emily and Caitlin from Three O'Clock Project and Chef Tracy and Pepper and Helena and everyone in CAFE. What I love about the One Rouge Coalition work for this, and Pepper just as a point of information, it's now been three in the third years that we've been doing this.

As if you look at 52 weeks in the year multiplied by three with the with for all the math bands. We're in the 170s now.

Pepper Roussel: What I love. I'm a lawyer. I don't count things. I'm sorry. I just don't do that.

Casey Phillips: So many lawyer jokes. So with that being said, what I love about this word is that it's it's our win.

It's not my, my organization's win. Everything with OneRouge is all together is us, right? And this is actually one of the first real tangible like wins of OneRouge because the American Heart Association funded us as a hub organization with three other organizational partners and Three O'Clock Projects in American Heart Association.

And everybody has come together in this work and been pushing for the last couple of years. Pepper has, thrown so much time into this, y'all. I have to give it up for Pepper. I have to give it up for Helena with CAFE. And this is a real win that's coming out of CAFE for the babies in our, the young humans and the babies in our city.

And that is worth celebrating. Also, everyone speaking of One Rouge and CAFE and our co chair, Emily Chatelain. I don't know if y'all caught the news, but the human that Nicola just referenced is that Emily Chatelain from Three O'Clock Project is now on the EBR school board to fill in for the human that just decided to quit because it was rough.

Emily just stepped in and leaned into the position, and she is now on the board. I texted her last night. I really on it. I try. I truly dropped my phone. I couldn't have been any more surprised at what I read. And it was a great surprise and I'm really happy for her and appreciative of her service.

Yeah, just all the way across the board. And so last but not least by proxy. And by proxy, in very small order compared to her, I am standing in for Reverend Anderson because Reverend Anderson is teaching at McKinley High School today as a guest I'm going to call her guest professor and she just wanted to make sure, of course, that I remind everyone that early voting starts on Saturday. And so voting clearly matters, folks. As said in everything that we talked about today. And so your early voting starts on Saturday. And actually, sorry, last half point.

On my Zoom screen, it's interesting. You have Pepper and Nicola. Matching in white. You have Cesar and Mariana in blue, and then you have Patrick and Flitcher in red.

I feel like we're a living game of memory on my Zoom screen, and it's been super fun today, and thank y'all spending this Friday that's been so impactful. Any other community announcements?

Marcela Hernandez: We are hiring. We are hiring. We are looking for an immigration attorney. So if you know anyone or any immigration attorney, LORI is hiring, please get in touch with us.

Mariana Montero: Thank you. We are going to have the first health fair in theSpring, collaborating with the Hispanic community and Xavier University.

And it's the first time that we are going to have a huge health fair for the Hispanic community. Another thing the Access Health Louisiana fair on the North Shore with the Hispanic Apostolate. And we are so excited. This is going to happen tomorrow from 10a to 1:30p and we are offering all the services and screenings.

Erin: Hey, this is Erin with Black Wellness. We are having our Black Wellness Community Health Expo, November 4th. Chef Tracy will be there. as well, doing a cooking demonstration. It will be at the MLK center on Gus Young. So spread the word November 4th.

Nichola Hall: And before I run out of here, I always want to throw a plug in for hiring. I'm always hiring. So I just put in a flyer. Tomorrow, we're going to be at Scotlandville Plaza, 11 to 2pm. Things are a little different. Smoothies, yoga, the whole works, wellness initiatives, etc. We help people with their application, send them all down 11 to 2pm. So I dropped that in there. And then the following week, we're We are having the fall fling, same thing but just being a little bit more intentional and unapologetic about the recruitment and retention around here.

So anyway, once again, I dropped that in there and I will share that out with everyone. So y'all could just share with everybody, but all are welcome. And I'm removing all barriers, retirees, whoever you are, you come on down, immigration, immigrants, whatever, whoever you are, come on down. We found a space for you.

Okay. Thank you all. You read my mind. Thank you

Cesar Rico: See Ms. Hall, I totally read my mind. It's going to definitely put that plug in. Mi gente a nuestro distrito, que vengan a trabajar, que tenemos oportunidades, verdad? So please, especially if you speak a different language, we have so many awesome opportunities.

Just like Ms. Hall said, come on down and, and see what how we can go ahead and serve others and still be able to have so many opportunities for ourselves as well. But that's great. Also right now through september september 15th through october 15th, almost all our schools in our district and one way or another are having Hispanic Heritage Festival celebrations, if you contact me,, with any questions ever. But also, I can definitely get you guys known is some of the, some big ones for sure.

For instance, today I'm wearing my McKinley High School. Blue Go Big blue. I'll be there this afternoon around 1:30 for their celebration, which is to be fantastic. But Broadmoor High School, Woodlawn High School, McKinley, of course, we've got so many great opportunities to showcase and celebrate this wonderful month. So thank you all so much and Pepper. You're awesome. Thank you. Yes.

Mariana Montero: And I say, I will continue. working together with various organizations, they have the same purpose of Golden Change or they are not. We are open to really work together with any organization and also I, I am very proud and happy that I have been the liaison between the community and universities like, Saber or DLRS and any organization that really want to know more about the Hispanic community, Golden Change is open.

To be part, to invite anybody to be part.

Pepper Roussel: And this is why we do Friday Calls. Thank you all so much for being here. Thank you to everyone who has an immigrant experience, particularly those Mariana, Cesar, Marcela, and Alfredo, who spoke this morning and shared part of your experience and your why. I hope that we are all taking away a little bit more than we came here with.

Casey, you're off mute. Final words?

Casey Phillips: Oh, no. When you were signing off, I was just gonna welcome Paul Franklin from Dallas, Texas in the space and I just wanted to make sure and say what's up to Paul. Yeah. Alright. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. What's up, Paul?

Pepper Roussel: He's not on his phone or he can't get off mute. I know. I know that works. Yeah. Anyways, thank you so much. I appreciate you being here as always spending part of your Friday morning with me and we will see y'all back next week. Same time, same bad time, same channel. Have a great weekend, y'all.


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