Resisting Invisibility through Creative Expressions: Immigrant Students and Families’ Voices and Actions

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Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez
Patricia D. Quijada Cerecer


This study examines a grassroots effort to work collaboratively with a group of immigrant students, their families, and educators at an urban high school.  Using PAR as a methodological tool, we explore how a group of high school students along with their families resist racial stigmatization and marginalization.  These young people and families were part of a university intergenerational collective, Family School Partnership (FSP) that worked along-side  teachers in an urban high school located in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This article focuses on how PAR can be a pedagogical tool to support immigrant young people and their families as they resist oppressions in schools while offering teachers, pre-service teachers and graduate students unique preparation experiences for working with and learning from immigrant students.

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Author Biographies

Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez, University of Utah

Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education, Culture and Society. She is a critical community engaged scholar who teaches and mentors linguistically and culturally diverse students, including first generation college students with whom she shares common life experiences and who constantly enlighten her research, teaching and service. Dr. Alvarez Gutiérrez immerses young people with critical participatory action research with a focus on issues that are important to them including immigration, education inequities, power and institutional structures. She also works extensively with societally marginalized young people, teacher educators and teacher activists who strive transformative education. She is founder of Family School Partnership and is faculty advisor to Mestizo Arts and Activism (MAA)—an intergenerational social justice collective that merges art, research and activism for social change. She strongly advocates and provides young people of color community spaces to engage in asset-based community building activities and critical dialogues on social, political, and educational issues pertinent to their communities.

Patricia D. Quijada Cerecer, University of California, Davis

Patricia D. Quijada Cerecer is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis. Quijada Cerecer’s research examines the educational pathways for Native American and Latinx students, access to postsecondary institutions, Chicanas/Latinas entering the professoriate, and structural inequities impacting P-20 educational organizations. Quijada Cerecer’s work has been published in several journals and books including the American Journal of Education, The Journal of the Professoriate, Multicultural Perspectives, The Journal of Enrollment Management, Studying Diversity in Teacher Education (AERA Press), Social Justice Pedagogy across the Curriculum (Routledge Press), and The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D.: Abriendo Caminos (Stylus Press). Quijada Cerecer earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.