Statement on Community Engagement

Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., Ph.D.

Several decades ago as a pioneer “native” educational anthropologist and scholar-activist / public intellectual, I decreed a new motto “Public or Perish” as a means to describe the tenants of the famous Chicano Plan de Santa Barbara (1970), that guided Chicano scholars to not only serve and give back to the communities on which giant shoulders we stand on, but to create sustainable models by which to bridge the campus, with the barrios- fields- and factories, - from which we found ourselves in diaspora.

The 2000 Census had confirmed what the few of us Latino researchers in the field had already foreshadowed (keep in mind that Chicano Ph.D.s were only .5 percent of all persons holding a doctorate at the time).


While Latinos would soon emerge as the largest minority in the U.S., and Latino children form the largest demographic group in many of our public schools, our educational attainment was unfortunately not keeping pace. With all the problems that we are facing at that historical cusp: the economy, the environment, the politics of immigration, — the Latino community had added yet another quandary to our list. As an educational community, we were in the middle of an educational crisis.

With the need to create a paradigm shift to address our low achievement test scores, low high school graduation rates, low numbers met for college admission requirements, low community college transfer rates, and low university completion rates, I founded a set of innovative and productive Latino Education programs, publications, and events on the campus of CSUSB in 1999 that would address our educational crisis; known today as “Latino Education and Advocacy Days” (or the LEAD movement). 

Among the first courses I developed or reformulated for the Teaching Credential and Masters courses in Education were Culture and Schooling, Pedagogical Foundations for English Language Learners, Social and Cultural Contexts for School Learning, Educational Foundations, and Educational Research; and later on as a tenured professor, Advanced Qualitative Research Methods, and Diversity and Equity in Education for the Doctorate in Educational Leadership. All these course curricula and pedagogy/androgogy are very specifically articulated and aligned as community resource mapping, public engagement, and service learning opportunities that marry the university campus with the communities we are to serve.
For this was the very reason I became a university professor/teacher educator, as a more strategic means to improve education across the board, and speak to the social nature of our community lives and our attempts to understand both what and how we learn from it and apply it to the classroom. The LEAD Projects, then, became an extension of the regular classroom, with the need to go beyond the constraints of the 4 walls and tap into the community funds of knowledge as to integrate students’ culture and background into our instruction, to be more effective.

The impact and success of LEAD had to be grounded on collaboration, participation, and outreach. Our work, by necessity, involves significant participation and partnerships in the region and nationally, and strong interactive connections with Latino networks in the U.S., as well as Latin Americans and Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas and the world.

The LEAD movement has primarily resided in higher education institutions, which are criticized -often for good reason- for our tendency to isolate ourselves from our surrounding contexts and for not being more engaged with the issues that affect the communities in which we are located.
The various LEAD networks reach agreement that there are important issues that directly or indirectly affect institutions and the multiple communities we straddle, that required us, to "climb out of the ivory tower," to do the action work that is most relevant for the local context, and in such a way that they can be used to inform and shape policy.   

"Netroots" is one way to describe our methods of awareness-raising, education, promotion, advocacy, activism, analysis, discussion, critique, and dissemination of educational issues that impact Latinos.The word is a combination of "internet and grassroots," reflecting the technological innovations, participatory democracy, and campaign-oriented activities that set our techniques apart from other forms of education and advocacy. Our work propels through local and regional efforts, with supra-local interlinks via national, and global web-based connectiveness -- that organizes communication points that spread out, but are not directed outward to, or from, any one singular point.

The curricular and extended activities of LEAD week, with its annual signature Summit (with market reach of more than 300 million households), is the showcase. But behind the scenes, the protractive action, both democratic and collective, definitely takes place. Over the past decades, the LEAD projects have enacted the necessary groundwork and campaign for our extraordinary new future. Our netroots movement long decided that we no longer have to jump in front of trains or dodge bullets to convince others of our orientation to action. Put simply, the LEAD movement engages- and believes that the singular accomplishable solution to our educational dilemma lies in community activism and democratic participation.

In fact, most of the work of the LEAD Organization has flown well-below conventional radar, at the level of the infra-political, -despite the highly-visible success of the annual Summit.

Twenty years ago, with the birth of the Journal of Latinos and Education, the primary motivation was to build an education movement that was neither primarily ideational nor ideological, but a praxis based on scientific approaches. At the time there were still too few major publications on Latinos and Education. There were research reports published all over the place or in highly specialized books and journals. Further, there was no one comprehensive published review of theory, research and practice on the topic. Despite some seminal publications, Latino issues remained often seen as limited in focus (academic colonialism). Mainstream publications tended to consider Latino issues as peripheral to broader issues in the discipline. Mainstream publications also tended to focus on nationally known "Latino" authors and look only to the work of a few to publish.

As its Founding Editor-in-Chief we changed that! Housed in the College of Education, the Journal of Latinos and Education (JLE) is the only Tier-1 academic journal housed at a CSU campus. The JLE provides a cross-, multi-, and interdisciplinary forum for scholars and writers of diverse disciplines who share a common interest in the analysis, discussion, critique, and dissemination of educational issues that impact Latinos. It is published quarterly by Routledge and with many thousands subscriptions, downloads and readers, our work informs a basis for current action to address the educational crisis, of which Latino students are emblematic.

That momentum led me to found/enact the National Latino Education Network, whose electronic portal allowing for exchange among thousands, predated the cusp of the social media revolution. The netroots movement expanded among the broad spectrum of researchers, teaching professionals and educators, academics, scholars, administrators, independent writers and artists, policy and program specialists, students, parents, families, civic leaders, activists, and advocates. Among the primary action items was to compile a Resource Guide/Clearinghouse that allows members to search and browse for resources, opportunities and activities in the Latino Educational community, which was non-existent or incomplete at the time.

Next, the Handbook of Latinos and Education (HLE) had the unique purpose and function of profiling the scope and terrain of this particular domain. As its Founding Editor-in-Chief, it remains the most significant and influential groundbreaking publication or compilation in the field of Latino Education, in terms of its contributions to research, to professional practice, and to the emergence of related interdisciplinary studies and theory. It symbolizes an important transition in Education, and the continual consciousness of Latinos. At core exists the struggle for educational equity and rights, with the conceptualization of social justice embedded, and support structure helping the plight of schools that are underfunded and racially organized in the most stereotypic of ways.

Few know this, but the evolution of the annual LEAD Summit sprang from the launching this Handbook, as it was a means to reach stakeholders beyond higher education campuses to showcase not our problems or deficits, but the already developed, new, and imaginative solution-based approaches and action-oriented initiatives to solve our educational crisis.

Next came the Feria Educativa College and Career Fair, which in its inaugural year (2011) was the first ever educational fair in CSUSB history, that both brought thousands of Latino students and families onto our campus, but also broadcast a live television show on Spanish-language TV. The Feria Educativa College & Career Fair is a community-engagement activity where we inform and inspire, including...enthuse a college-going and career-readiness culture for all students to be prepared for a full range of post-secondary options; engage parents and families, with special efforts to reach Latinos, as a critical component in believing that their children are "college material" and offer opportunities to understand their role in the college process, as well as other post-secondary career opportunities; distribute/exhibit/present educational and career information and post-secondary opportunities, and other materials pertinent to community well-being (e.g. health, immigration, & civic engagement), and be available to support families; and build collective commitment and a partnership model that includes active involvement from all sectors of the regional community.

From the need to plan and execute such large-scale Educational Fairs, LEAD composed a broad array of community stakeholders and organizations intended to involve, engage, inspire, and inform families along their educational journey. We called this the Inland Empire Regional Collaborative, and we were 1 of only 3 models praised by the White House; as LEAD also had the honor of coordinating the only White House Initiatives Summit held in our region.

The principal purpose of all the LEAD events/programs are to support closing the achievement gap among low-income, historically underrepresented students and their peers. Over the past decades, Latinos have emerged as the largest minority in the nation, with majority populations in many states and regions, and in some cases, the majority demographic among school-age children. Yet, Latinos continue to have some of the highest dropout/pushout rates, score among the lowest on achievement tests, and have low college enrollment and graduation rates. Both Latino students and teachers have a high mobility rate, are located in racially segregated communities with high poverty rates, and attend schools with fewer resources, staffing, and programs.

Our community is losing the battle to keep our focus on educational equity and achievement, including attending college and beyond. The competitive strengths of our nation will continue to depend, to a large extent, on the positive educational outcomes of Latino students. Thus, our objectives are to promote a broad-based awareness of the crisis in Latino Education and to enhance the intellectual, cultural and personal development of our community's educators, administrators, leaders and students.

All the publications, curricula, programs, and events aim to support and accelerate student success through a broad range of topics on the educational issues that impact Latinos, particularly students and families. The components which encompass most issues of relevance are Community Engagement, Professional Development, Parental Involvement, and Youth Leadership; Schooling Conditions and Outcomes / Educational Pipeline; Culture, Identity and Diversity; Immigration, Globalization and Transnationalism; Language Policies and Politics; Early Childhood; Latino Perspectives on School Reform; Culturally-Responsive Pedagogies and Effective Practices; High Stakes Testing and Accountability; Community Activism and Advocacy; and Higher Education Eligibility, Enrollment and Attainment.

Community collaboration and change are evident in all the many networks I have formed and given shape to over these several decades, including the thousands of LEAD members and affiliates, and the hundreds of events I have coordinated and hosted. California State has even declared the last week of March as a Week of Latino Education and Advocacy and has specifically mentioned LEAD through the various CA Assembly Concurrent Resolutions (ACR-137).

Over the years LEAD has amassed more than 200 regional, state, and national Partners; and has formed more than 1600 Chapters across 40 countries. Together with our nearly 20 media partners, we are able to reach the aforementioned 300 million households. Yet with all our events, we always make special efforts to bring community to our campus. This year’s LEAD Week brought nearly 2,000 attendees, and with our Social Media Ambassadors amassed more than 20,300,000 Social Media Engagement & Impressions during LEAD Week 2018.

All the LEAD Week activities are community-engaged and community-driven. This year’s Week had the Binational Parent Leadership Institute, Catholic Schools EXPO, PUENTE Project Student Leadership Forum/VIP Welcome Dinner, LEAD Summit IX, and culminating with the César E. Chávez Memorial Breakfast. Just to highlight one of the Week’s programs, purpose of the Binational Parent Leadership Institute is to explore and establish an organized Parent Involvement mechanism in the Inland Empire that will provide parents with institutional leadership trainings to become effective change agents in service delivery for their families; develop a process(s) for parents to create a cadre of leadership for parent voice, direct input, advocacy and impact in schools & communities and at local, regional, state and national levels; and develop focus on effective strategies to meaningfully engage parents in planning, implementation and evaluation of service to ensure successful outcomes for student and families.

This is a joint LEAD program I have developed together with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools office and the Community Affairs - Consulado de México en San Bernardino, CA (Mexican Consulate).  The planning, curricula, logistic, and outreach committees are based on a participatory model of collaboration, respect and interaction among 9 additional participatory organizations and entities representing the most prominent or active parent, family, and community groups who educate, train, advocate, support, and/or work most directly with parents, parent coordinators, parent leaders, and liaisons.

The institutional impact of my career is probably best exemplified through the Southern California Consortium of Hispanic Serving Institutions, of which started as a CSUSB initiative and I serve as its President. Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) are defined in federal law as accredited and degree-granting public or private nonprofit institutions of higher education with 25 percent or more total undergraduate Hispanic full-time equivalent student enrollment.
This consortium is the largest of its kind, with more than 70 HSIs in our So-Cal region. Our goals are to increase the access, retention and success of Latino students in higher education, partner and network to secure funding for member institutions, advance the development of Latino leadership at member institutions, serve as the venue for sharing information on funding, legislation, and other matters that advance the interests of member institutions, collaborate with communities, businesses, government, and other organizations to leverage resources, support and improve resource development and staff development, including sharing best practices and strategies, support and work collaboratively with state- and national-level organizations, agencies, and associations who share a common interest and mission to support Hispanic Serving Institutions and/or underserved populations in higher education.

Many of our Consortium members, as is the case with our campus, are at a historical juncture.  Our student body is diversifying faster than our faculty, and compared to their peers, Latino students are more likely to still be enrolled beyond 6 years on their path toward a degree. CSUSB must better and continue to prepare Latino students for tomorrow’s challenges through collaboration and leveraging institutional strengths and resources. We must provide a cooperative vehicle to enhance our success in reaching our individual and collective goals, such as developing an intentional campus culture and redesigning curricula, to include more community engagement and/or community-based learning and research, enhance faculty development, and equity agenda in faculty hiring, tenure, and promotion, and nurturing mutual vision and alliance across disciplines, colleges, and/or institutions.
Education is of economic imperative, and the Civil Rights issue of our generation; it’s a right not a privilege.

El Saber de Dr. Enrique G. Murillo, Jr.
Hola a todos, Hace varias décadas, como pionero antropólogo educativo “nativo” y académicoactivista / intelectual público, decreté un nuevo lema “Público o perecer” como un medio para describir a los inquilinos del famoso Plan Chicano de Santa Bárbara (1970), que guió Académicos chicanos no solo para servir y retribuir a las comunidades sobre las que nos apoyamos, sino para crear modelos sostenibles por medio de los cuales unir el campus, con los barrios -campos- y fábricas, de los cuales nos encontramos en la diáspora.

​Con la necesidad de crear un cambio de paradigma para abordar nuestros bajos puntajes en las pruebas de rendimiento, las bajas tasas de graduación de la escuela secundaria, los bajos números cumplidos para los requisitos de admisión a la universidad, las bajas tasas de transferencia de universidades comunitarias y las bajas tasas de finalización universitaria, fundé un conjunto de programas innovadores y productivos Programas, publicaciones y eventos de educación latina en el campus de CSUSB en 1999 que abordarían nuestra crisis educativa; conocido hoy como “Días de Educación y Defensa Latina” (o el movimiento LEAD).

El impacto y el éxito de LEAD tenían que basarse en la colaboración, la participación y el alcance. Nuestro trabajo, por necesidad, implica una participación significativa y asociaciones en la región y a nivel nacional, y fuertes conexiones interactivas con redes latinas en los EE. UU., Así como con latinoamericanos y pueblos indígenas en las Américas y el mundo. “Netroots” es una forma de describir nuestros métodos de concientización, educación, promoción, defensa, activismo, análisis, discusión, crítica y difusión de temas educativos que impactan a los latinos. La palabra es una combinación de “internet y base”. reflejando las innovaciones tecnológicas, la democracia participativa y las actividades de campaña que distinguen nuestras técnicas de otras formas de educación y promoción. Nuestro trabajo se impulsa a través de esfuerzos locales y regionales, con interrelaciones supralocales a través de la conectividad nacional y global basada en la web, que organiza puntos de comunicación que se extienden, pero no se dirigen hacia afuera, hacia o desde, un punto singular.

Nuestra comunidad está perdiendo la batalla para mantener nuestro enfoque en la equidad y los logros educativos, incluida la asistencia a la universidad y más allá. Las fortalezas competitivas de nuestra nación seguirán dependiendo, en gran medida, de los resultados educativos positivos de los estudiantes latinos. Por lo tanto, nuestros objetivos son promover una conciencia amplia de la crisis en la educación latina y mejorar el desarrollo intelectual, cultural y personal de los educadores, administradores, líderes y estudiantes de nuestra comunidad.

Debemos proporcionar un vehículo cooperativo para mejorar nuestro éxito en el logro de nuestras metas individuales y colectivas, como el desarrollo de una cultura de campus intencional y el rediseño de los planes de estudio, para incluir más participación comunitaria y / o aprendizaje e investigación basados en la comunidad, mejorar el desarrollo de la facultad y la equidad. agenda en la contratación, permanencia y promoción de profesores, y fomentando la visión mutua y la alianza entre disciplinas, universidades y / o instituciones. La educación es un imperativo económico y el tema de los derechos civiles de nuestra generación; es un derecho, no un privilegio.