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Friday, July 23, 2021

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Planning committee and faculty at the Voice Your Language Symposium in 2015. Planning committee and faculty at the Voice Your Language Symposium in 2015.
 


Your Language is Unique, Voice it

The second annual Voice Your Language Symposium is on Feb. 12.
By Stefanie Banks
 

The Voice Your Language Symposium is back for its second year at San Diego State University. Brought to the community by the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education, the symposium brings together local educators, community members and SDSU students and faculty to discuss topics surrounding multilingual education on both local and global levels.
 
Because the student body and local SDSU community is largely diverse, many languages will be represented at the event. According to Cristina Alfaro, chair of the department, students felt that SDSU and its community partners needed an arena to discuss subjects related to language, culture and equity in education.

Inception

The program was proposed by these same students in 2015. Funding from the recently enacted Student Success Fee made the Voice Your Language Symposium possible. “Last year’s event was a huge success,” Alfaro said, “We expect that this year it will be even bigger.”
 
This year, the event will feature keynote speaker Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Mexican-American U.S. poet laureate. Herrera, whose parents were migrant farmworkers, will share experiences from his childhood and read poetry, prose and stories from his bilingual children’s books.
 
Herrera is invited to speak at many venues, and having him at the forum will help the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education foster university-community collaborations, Alfaro said. It will also bring attention to programs and certificates within the department while strengthening the relationship between the College of Education, the university and the community.

Expanding your knowledge 

In addition to the keynote by Herrera, a panel of local educators and students will share their bilingual experiences. Attendees will be able to participate in a dialogue with panelists and other symposium participants.
 
Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss the upcoming California Multilingual Education Act (SB 1174), which will be on the ballot this fall 2016. If passed, the act would place an initiative before voters to repeal prohibitions to multilingual instruction passed through Proposition 227.
 
The Voice Your Language Symposium is free and open to the public. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12 in Montezuma Hall. Click here to RSVP and to see a detailed agenda for the day.