LatinX Union: New Parkdale club builds bridge to LatinX community


The newly-active LatinX Union at Parkdale provides a place for both fluently Spanish-speaking and learning Spanish-speaking students to come together. (photos contributed by Jefferson Turcios)

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) are a diverse group of schools with a large LatinX population, and at Parkdale in particular, the Latinx community takes up over 35 percent of the student population.

Part of this population is a large group of students who do not speak English fluently and are part of the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. Because so many students at Parkdale are part of the Latinx community, senior and President of the Class of 2022 Jefferson Turcios has founded LatinX Union to build a bridge between the LatinX community and all the other students in order to create a safe and united school environment.

LatinX Union, under the sponsorship of Spanish teacher Ms. Colón Cruz, is an after school program that meets weekly on Wednesdays from 2:45 to 4:00 PM in Room 220. This club is new to Parkdale as it was founded this school year by one of Parkdale’s very own students. 

“The mission of this union is to increase cultural engagement, provide Spanish and English classes to our ESOL community as well as those who want to learn another language,” said Turcios. “Through this union our mission is also to increase academic success. What made me say we should have a Latinx union is the different issues our students are facing. For example the lack of cultural engagement and those who are struggling with the language [both] English and Spanish.” 

Students who participated in LatinX Union take part in discussing important and relevant topics like immigration, traditions, customs, and more in Hispanic backgrounds.  In addition to having a safe space to talk, students also work on homework for Spanish classes and others, talk about what they do at school and how to contribute to the school community and how non-Spanish speakers and non-English speakers can be inclusive with each other. The union runs in both Spanish and English so that there is no confusion and to fight the language barrier between students. 

The club is open to all students in order to cultivate and promote Hispanic culture that is part of the backgrounds of many of the students at Parkdale. LatinX Union is designed to not only help students who don’t speak English but also so that English speakers learn Spanish or improve their Spanish skills.

Senior Annika Hart said she joined LatinX Union because after six years of taking Spanish classes, she wanted to improve her skills and increase her chances of better scores in her International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. Hart added that she wanted “a sense of community within [her] own school.” 

This new union of students representing the LatinX community and reaching for a connection to the rest of the school community is active to help our school as a whole.

“I took the role of sponsor because a large population of this school is Hispanic,” said Ms. Colón Cruz. “During the school day we don’t get the chance to fraternize and explore all these areas of community as we do in LatinX Union.” 

Because the Hispanic community is so large at Parkdale and has a large impact on the community in and out of school, LatinX Union is a great start to helping students embrace their cultures and the cultures of others.

Like Ms. Colón Cruz said, “It’s a way that we have to promote the Spanish language so that other students in school who are interested in learning it can. It’s a way to keep our Hispanic roots alive, so that the youth can learn about them and enjoy it.”