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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

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.

The Road To Freedom

by Manuel Hernández

The November 2nd elections defined Latinos as the vote that marched through the road to freedom. With the highest turnout ever, Latinos have finally opened the gates to their pathway. The road to freedom provoked a lot of before, during and after electoral debate, but Latinos met the challenge and cruised to victory. With an increase of 5 percent of the Republican vote from the 2000 elections, it is clear and present that Latinos will have an opportunity to voice issues and concerns and make their presence felt in all avenues of the American highway.

The Latino preschool, elementary, secondary and high school population is growing and has now become part of an important story of the largest minority ethnic group in the United States. Much of the recent rise in minority enrollment in elementary and secondary schools may be attributed to the growth in the number of Latino students. The issue of education is key to Latinos, who are less likely to receive a quality education than most other Americans. In one of his recent political rallies, President Bush stated "the role of government is to help people realize a dream, not stand in the way of dreams." The road to freedom is rough and bumpy, but Latinos dream and have realized that their dreams are founded in the educational empowerment of the people.

After they numerically proved in the past elections that they should not be taken for granted, the education of Latinos must be a top priority for the President's administration. Census projections go as far as placing them over the 100 million mark by mid-century, but the numbers are meaningless unless Latinos decelerate high school drop out rates, national testing scores and other educational pit stops. However, despite the fact that Latinos have recently made some major gains, disparities still exist in academic performance between Latinos and non- Latino White students.

In the Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass by Terry M. West, young Frederick's owner prohibits his wife to read to him because it was dangerous and against the law. The words of the slave owner sank deep into Douglass' heart and motivated him to read, learn and educate himself. The rest of Douglass' legacy is recorded in American history. Latinos must decisively take advantage of this moment in history and drive through the road to freedom. The road to freedom is a pledge to educate and empower children and send them on an envisioned road to promote the educational excellence that all of them deserve. A generation after the historical I Have A Dream speech has paved the way to provide all Americas children with quality education and excellent academic standards.


You ask me to comment. OK. I find myself in a position to give my opinion, for where I live in Idaho, just minutes from the Snake River that also borders Ontario, Oregon, there are thousands of hispanics, illegals and mexicans most of them. It has been my experience so far that very few of them will have the ambition of aspiring for anything more than providing a decent living to their families here or in their native countries. Most of them are hard workers and they seem content just with living life with whatever they can get from their labors.

The majority of these people come from rural areas and bring with them a very poor formal education and they also bring with them their bad habits. There is an area in Ontario, Oregon, populated by hispanics, whre there have been shootings. Many of them like to get drunk and they could care less about the law, running stop signs, traffic lights, speeding and driving under the influence.

Not all hispanics bring the idea of advancing in this country and merely want to survive. I know one man around 70 years old who was born in Texas of mexican descent. He speaks no English and is uneducated. As you can see his parents missed the boat by not getting him in school so he could get out of the rut.

On the other side of the coin, there are the few who know why they came to this country. For example, I know very few families that have started businesses and whose families are getting a college education while also working hard.

But make no mistake, hispanics are the wave of the future in America. It will take time for other ethnias to recognize the contributions and advancements that hispanics are making in this country. By then hispanics will have discovered "The Road to Freedom" and will merge with the rest of society to become simply americans.

I hope you liked my comments.