a Tour
a Tour

Apr 20, 2023

Hosting NOLA’s First Hispanic Chamber Town Hall

This month we’ve been paying a great deal of time and attention to amplifying Latinx voices. Member Tatiana Begault of the Democratic Foundation for Educational Reform (DFER) has been absolutely essential to that effort. Whether it’s a panel on genetic testing for cancer prevention or public hearings to discuss the state of the New Orleans Public School initiatives towards equitable access to education; she never falls short in her heroic efforts to spread the word. Today on the blog, we decided to lend our platform to her words. Please enjoy this personal letter from her to you.


A note from Tatiana…


“This past April 13th we welcomed the city’s First Hispanic/ Latino Townhall. In partnership in NOLAPS we have felt the urgency to hear the voices of the Hispanic community, and found no better place than The SHOP. We aim to hear the opinions, concerns, and the current solutions on how to better serve our youth and consequently the families and the community at large. We offered culturally relevant music, food and most importantly information in what’s the problem, what are the resources, and what are some of our directions or pathways to collaborative solutions.

As the Deputy State Director for Education Reform with DFER- also a proud Leader of Color, Marsiglia Institute of Justice Graduate and Latinx Leadership Graduate coordinated with NOLAPS to ensure we had a diverse and cultivating dialog. The Shop served to host and represent the innate curiosity of a migrant that knows for a fact we can do better within our education system, by collaborating. The conversation offered transparent and inclusive conversations brings opportunity for growth and collaboration. Opened the door for outreach in underserved communities and insight in our School Board.

The conversation was nothing short of amazing, we reminded everyone that America’s history is complex yet fascinating. As African Americans and Native Americans can attest. But the country’s relatively openness to migrants has yielded vibrant technologies, traditions, and businesses, as well as a younger and more entrepreneurial population than in many comparable nations (Fairly, Reedy, Morelix & Russell, 2016). However, the 5 largest ethnic groups in Orleans Parish, LA are African American (Non-Hispanic) (58.6%), Caucasian (Non-Hispanic) (30.7%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (2.85%), Latino/ White (Hispanic) (2.75%), and two+ (Non-Hispanic) (1.75%). This data was updated by the census bureau in 2021. We can further break it down for school age children by saying that 19.8% are under 18 years of age. Conversations like this one were crucial to truly grasp the evolution of needs and community demands.

Amongst our SHOP members and guests we heard the voices of experience and highly informative panelists. We had experts from cross culturally relevant and interagency fields. NOLAPS & DFER State Deputy Director welcomed and moderated impactful conversations with Angela Ramirez, ED from Puentes, Ingrid Bustos ED & Founder of ECCO, Mr. Alfred Galindo with Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce & Mrs. Lynette Bates Director of UNO TRIO Studies. All to whom have explained the current available resources and some of the cross-parish wisdom. Valuable feedback from Our Voice Nuestra Voice, Familias Unidas en Acción, El Pueblo NOLA Village, Youth Force NOLA, El tiempo, Licencias Para todos and more were heard.

At the First Hispanic Townhall NOLAPS & DFER strived to pivot divergent thinking and collective actions that can educate, repair, and correct the future of our scholars. We are making a call of action for collective thinking and collaboration. This is the first Latino/ Hispanic Townhall, and we are hoping not to be the last. We were pleased to host it at The SHOP as it is unequivocally the most distinct and functional location with capacity that fits our needs. As far as NOLA PS & DFER intends to have a series of town halls that expands on action plans for all scholars.


How to move forward? How can you join?


We are closely following the legislatives impact in our educational system, and we follow bills that directly affect our community of color, for the school choice, curriculum development and access to adequate and culturally relevant literature “our books”. We are happy to notify and involve as many businesses as possible, nonprofits, and families that feel the shared responsibility to oversee the wellbeing of our community. If you would like to collaborate closely with DFER & NOLAPS to strategize the subsequent actions steps to safeguard our youth, please reach out to me directly so we can add you to our monthly meetings and we will start this open and consistent conversation. Words are NOTHING if not backed by ACTIONS. Please join us to safeguard the future of our scholars and community at large.”

Tatiana Sofia Begault, Deputy State Director, Louisiana

Democrats for Educational Reform