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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

Email: josejosue24@gmail.com
Address: : 2012 Ernest St. Kissimmee, Florida 34741

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and finished a Master�s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx in 1994. He has coordinated symposiums, produced and coordinated television interviews on the literature written by Puerto Rican and Latino/a writers from the Diaspora. He has done numerous presentations, workshops and seminars on how to integrate latino/a literature in the English classroom. In 2014, he participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. He is the author of three books, , Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Imprenta Sifre. 2008) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (Imprenta Sifre, 2013). He is a Language Arts teacher at Osceola School District in Florida.
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The Vision: An Integrated-Based Education for Latinos
By Manuel Hernandez

An integrated-based education for Latinos is like the human body. It has many cells, but all work as one to achieve its objective. The human cell is the smallest component, but it functions like clockwork to maintain the system alive and well. The Latino community must partake in a process that will unite and multiply rather than divide. The cell needs oxygen for its existence just like Latinos need each other to co-exist. The vision of an integrated-based education is whole yet diversified and allows its components to contribute, grow and impart knowledge, ideas and strategies for the unity of the body: Latinos.

Each Latino leader, parent and student, without age distinction, must become an active participant in the educational system. Each student must be treated as a potential leader. The success of our students depends on how we as a people help him/her to reach his/her goals and educational objectives. According to Henry Cisneross interview on Latino Leaders, by the year 2012, there will be a Latino candidate participating in the Presidential primary race in the United States of America for one of the two major political parties. Therefore, every elementary, junior high and high school student must be considered as a potential presidential candidate (leader). Latino students are the embodiment of success. It is our responsibility as leaders to facilitate and discover talents and abilities and provide them with the guidance and direction needed to become leaders.

American history depicts the dynamic and explosive growth of academic and educational institutions from its beginnings. The Franklins and Jeffersons of the time debated, argued and discussed but reached agreements and designed strategies to impact America and its inhabitants. There were major differences of opinion amongst the forefathers of the Constitution, but there was unity of purpose. When we take an up and close look at the background involved in the process, there are three fundamental issues that come to mind.

First, a spirit of unity and purpose that gave Americans the authority to move within a superior dimension and put aside personal and individual goals. Secondly, and as a direct result of the first, the sacrifice and passion as a permanent attitude of the American community that was not altered because of persecution and opposition. This passion was not privatized or reserved exclusively for the leadership, but it was also present in the every day life of all Americans (many of them recently arrived immigrants themselves). Thirdly, is the acknowledgement to prepare and train leaders that could meet the demands of an ever-changing and ever-growing society. With Latinos surpassing all United States Census Bureau statistics, there is an alarmimg reality. There are more than a few potential leaders, players and individual mega-stars, but there are very few willing to give back to the community and go back to basics. Latino teens are in desperate need of care and attention. Instead of blocking the way of a potential leader, let us pave the way for our younger generations.

The only way to explain the purpose of of an integrated-based education is maintaining unity of purpose. Even the one who betrayed the Greatest Teacher of all time received the opportunity to redeem himself up to the last minute of his existence. How will we overcome? It has been a generation since the I Have A Dreamspeech by Martin Luther King. After a generation of living in solitude in the desert, Moses came out of his process and lead his people out of captivity. After a generation of its existence, the eagle has to decide whether to undergo the difficult process of renewing its body by literally sacrificing itself on the rocks. It is time to die to our inner-selves, bury the pain and anguish and overcome the odds and defy gravity.

The process has begun, but it must find its place in our hearts. The vision of an integrated-based education for Latinos will leave our children with a today and a tomorrow. Our children will thank us much like the way, Sandra Maria Esteves expreses her thanks in the third stanza of her poem Thank You:

Thank you

For sharing your life with me

For lifting my spirit

So high I believe again

Can breathe again

Feel free and loved again

Thank you for being my friend

By my side and in my Heart (Undelivered Love Poems, p.34)