“Home is nostalgic. Home is love. Home is family. But to the world, our homes are often labeled ‘bad.’ We call this one- sided perception the ‘leave to succeed’ mindset – a deficit-based belief system forced upon low-income communities of color that normalizes failure as the default outcome. But the good news is that there is a counter narrative,” wrote President & Lead Executive Officer Nancy Gutiérrez and Roberto Padilla in their recent article Carrying Home: Leading from the Places that Made Us, published on the website Latinos for Education.
In the article, Gutiérrez and Padilla explore issues of home and identity through the lens of the “leave to succeed”(L2S) mindset, which they describe as a dangerous narrative that characterizes marginalized communities as inherently bad or unworthy of success. They highlight how their new book, Stay & Prevail: Students of Color Don’t Need to Leave Their Communities to Succeed, elevates this uncomfortable conversation in the spirit of the Latinos for Education core value, “agitate when necessary.”
“At the heart of our collective work with Latinos for Education is a core belief that education is a lever for providing opportunities that allow students to decide their own destiny, so stop telling us to drive down the one-way street as our only option,” they wrote.
Gutiérrez and Padilla suggest a new narrative, one that honors the work, the history, and the cultures of the people who call these places home and invites back those who have left to roll up their collective sleeves and do the work.
Wrote Gutiérrez and Padilla, “Stay & Prevail is an argument for our comunidad to choose or not to choose, to know that there are strengths and values in one’s choice to stay in one’s community and/or to explore outside of one’s home community.”