“The Only People I’ve Seen Dream Big Are White People”
This past spring I sat across the table at McDonalds from one of our leaders in Destino. We were talking about his ethnic identity journey in the context of reading Being Latino in Christ together. It was eye opening for me to hear stories from his childhood and how they had shaped him today.
At one point I started asking him about how his ethnic identity shaped his spiritual life. I noted that he loves being Hispanic, wants his children to speak Spanish, but attending a predominantly White church. I told him there was nothing wrong with that at all, it was totally fine. But it intrigued me. Normally a student in his position would attend a Hispanic church (at least at our campus). His answer caught me by surprise:
The only people I’ve seen dream big in life are white people.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was an up and coming leader in our movement that was going to do great things in life. He’s going to be successful at whatever he does. And yet I as his leader had not helped him to be around older Hispanic believers who had “dreamed big” and accomplished something in life. I had failed him.
In Destino I had always tried to connect with the Hispanic community. After that conversation it became critical. Now I am much more intentional to partner with Latino churches so that our students are around older Hispanics who walk with the Lord (our context is that we are on a campus that is primarily White in a community that is primarily White).
This was also brought home to me recently in an excellent blog post by another student involved with us: “El filósofo y el psicólogo”. I encourage you to read it.
As a result of these conversations with students we’ve done some of the following:
- Begun planning an “Adopt the Aggies” program where families from local Hispanic churches “adopt” a pair of Destino students. They commit to having the students over once a month and be in their lives.
- Invited in local Hispanic believers to give special talks on campus. Instead of students typically hearing from white staff, we now have older Latinos sharing wisdom on things like Creativity, Life Vision, Marriage, Finances, etc.
- We’ve met with more Hispanic pastors to help partner with their churches in Destino. We had a “Church Open House” where we invited multiple Latino churches to come and advertise their churches to our students.
What are you doing on campus to help your Destino students interact with older Latino and Hispanic believers?
What could you begin to do to bring more Latinos from the community around your Destino movement?
Photo courtesy: Kay Vee Inc