Sociedad Latina hosted the 2019 Class Celebration and Alumni Reunion. Sociedad Latina Executive Director Alexandra Oliver-Dávila, Massachusetts College of Art & Design President Dr. David P. Nelson, Alumnus Jaime Lopez, Alumna Raquel Navarro, Sociedad Latina Youth Leader Yajaira Alvarenga and Sociedad Latina community supporters were in attendance to celebrate graduating youths’ accomplishments at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design DMC Atrium (621 Huntington Ave., Boston).
After a brief introduction by Sociedad Latina’s Executive Director, Alexandra Oliver- Dávila, the event commenced with a greeting by the Massachusetts College of Art & Design President Dr. David P. Nelson. He spoke about the importance of supporting culturally relevant organizations that promote positive youth development, such as Sociedad Latina. He also elaborated on the significance of having an organization with a 50-year history of addressing educational and professional barriers for Latino youth.
Alumna Raquel Navarro followed Dr. Nelson with a spoken-word poetry reading about her experience as a Sociedad Latina Youth Leader and now current staff member. She recounted her fears and hesitations, which blossomed into newfound passions and opportunities.
“I’m thinking: what is this? Groups and groups of individuals all with different visuals, but in the reciprocal, we all had one purpose. To create. To make.
My placement was music. Working, teambuilding, investing ideas and time, morphing solutions around creative differences.
All a part of my growth process in the music program. I developed this new aura that I never knew existed in me.
I became aware of myself and my ability to inspire and assist others.”
As one of the cornerstones of Sociedad Latina’s mission and values, many former Youth Leaders were in attendance. Sociedad Latina Alumnus, Jaime Lopez, currently works for the
Barr Foundation and serves on Sociedad Latina’s Board of Directors. He unveiled Sociedad Latina’s newly formed Alumni Association. It is a channel to connect mentors that have gone through Sociedad Latina and can share experiences and a professional network with the youth. He also discussed his involvement with the organization and how it has shaped his future.
Yajaira Alvarenga, a Sociedad Latina Youth Leader graduating from Fenway High School, spoke about her experience as an immigrant from El Salvador. In her speech, she recounted the significance that culturally and linguistically relevant organizations have for recently arrived immigrants, and the ways Sociedad Latina supported her succeeding in high school.
“Sociedad Latina brings different types of opportunities and support the next generation of leaders. As a member of Sociedad Latina, I strongly believe and agree that this organization offers me the right environment. An environment where I could fit in, have support, and to feel safe… It helped me improve my own potential, as well as increased my academic knowledge and professional skills.”
Sociedad Latina’s ALAS Success Coach, Laura Londoño, presented three $500 scholarships towards college-related expenses to Angelica Mordan Percel, Radelquis Benoit, and Yajaira Alvarenga.
Sociedad Latina’s Executive Director, Alexandra Oliver-Dávila presented the graduates with their certificates. She closed the event with a call to action.
“I ask you to join Sociedad Latina in embracing the urgency in providing greater outcomes for our Latino youth in Boston. Unfortunately, in Boston, we have not closed the opportunity and achievement gap for our Latino and English Learner students, and there continues to be many barriers preventing our youth from graduating high school and obtaining college degrees and successful employment.”
Sociedad Latina is hosting more events throughout the year to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Viva! Summer Nights event series will take place at One Brigham Circle throughout July and August, including the renowned Tito Puente Music Series on August 8. Our Latino Heritage Month celebration, ¡Viva Nuestra Cultura!, takes place on Sept. 12, at One Brigham Circle from 5 – 8 p.m. Sociedad Latina’s celebratory year culminates with our 50th Anniversary Gala at the Museum of Fine Arts on Oct. 9. To purchase tickets for the 50th Anniversary Gala, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/50thGalaCelebration.
Sociedad Latina invites you to sponsor their 50th Anniversary Celebration and to donate to their Capital Campaign to ensure another 50 years of youth empowerment and leadership, and building the creative capital of the community. Your contribution will support the critical renovation of the building designed to be a home for Latino youth where culture, language, community, civic engagement, education, and leadership meet. To donate, visit Sociedad Latina’s website: www.sociedadlatina.org.
A special thank you to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for generously providing the event space this evening.