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Why I Stand: Liliana Hutcheson

Who We Are | 09/17/2015

Lauren Sandherr
National Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Lauren manages the execution of Stand's marketing projects and hopes to bring needed attention to education issues.

It's Hispanic Heritage Month, so we at Stand are going to be sharing the stories of some of our incredible Hispanic staff and parent members over the next few weeks. First up is Liliana Hutcheson, an organizer in our Arizona office who has been with Stand for 6 years! Here's Liliana's story:

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I was born and grew up in Mexico City, where I was fortunate to attend a private school from K-12. During elementary school, I attended a Mexican-Japanese school. I learned Japanese when I was little and went to school all the way from 7:30am to 5pm. It was there I learned how important education is in the Japanese culture and that the Japanese are very successful because everything - for them - is about education. So, I grew up knowing education was going to be the key for success.

Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher, but I loved the arts, too, and got my B.A. in graphic design. Shortly after a graduating from college, I moved to the United States. I started working at a school in a low-income area where the majority of people were Hispanic. Working there showed me a need for the parents in the community to be informed, feel welcomed, and have the tools they need to help their children’s education.

My Hispanic heritage plays a very important role in my career because I can relate to the Hispanic families who come to the United States looking for opportunities. These families have kids enrolled in the schools where they don’t know the system and the language.

In 2005, I had the opportunity to start the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options in Arizona (HCREO), reaching out to thousands of parents across Arizona to express the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education. In 2009, Stand for Children opened in Arizona, and I was the first person they hired.

I stand for children because Stand gives me the opportunity to work in all levels of education: with the parents’ schools, with districts, and with the state. Often, Hispanic parents don’t feel welcome in these arenas, or they are afraid to ask questions. Stand parents are engaged in their children’s education, and we help them feel welcome in their schools, districts, and the state. We open the door of communication for them with educators, elected officials, and the school system.

My Hispanic heritage plays a very important role in my career because I can relate to the Hispanic families who come to the United States looking for opportunities. These families have kids enrolled in the schools where they don’t know the system and the language.

In my time at Stand, I’ve seen firsthand how parents grow - they become leaders in their communities and make a great impact. In Arizona, we started a pilot program with our members involving Team Captains. One mom came from a tiny town in Mexico, speaking only a native dialect. Now she is leading her team as a Team Captain, and she is truly very inspiring.

That is only one story of our many leaders. There are two moms (also Stand parent leaders) who started a tutoring program in their community, and we partnered with their high school. People like these parents make me feel very happy and energize me in my role as an organizer.

To me, educational equality means that every child deserves the same opportunity to succeed in life, regardless of their location or background. That is why I love Stand’s mission. Naturally, as an organizer, I believe strongly in family engagement in education, but I’m also passionate about having high-quality teachers and principals in our schools because every child’s success in life depends on them.

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