By Belle Vang, COSS Communications Student Assistant
Dr. Amber Crowell, Sociology Assistant Professor, interprets National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) as an opportunity to have critical conversations about racism and xenophobia that overwhelmingly targets Latinx communities. As a local activist and Latinx, Dr. Crowell organized a symposium last year during NHHM focusing on family border separations and the human impact it inflicts.
“I would like for us to use this month to confront the racist, white supremacist rhetoric that drives our immigration policies and the treatment of Latinx within these national borders.”
Dr. Crowell optimizes NHHM as an opportunity to recognize Hispanic history and culture. She believes the Hispanic heritage should be celebrated all year-round and incorporated into daily lives through educational curriculum.
Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Crowell openly shares that she lost the ability to speak Spanish due to the Texas public school system’s lack of bilingual support. However, she carries memories full of her grandparents’ language and food to share with her daughter.
“I have rich memories to pass on because the house was always full of life and activity. Memories of my grandfather’s music and painting and books; my grandmother’s voice and language and intrepid spirit; funny stories, sad stories, stories of endurance.”
Dr. Crowell notes how her grandmother is the living heart of her identity and heritage and is driven to protecting her grandparents’ dream of coming to the U.S. For her family and their heritage, Dr. Crowell believes in fighting against stigmas that take away those dreams such as racism, xenophobia, and opportunity hoarding.
Through her strong family background, Dr. Crowell often integrates that connection with her Latinx students because she believes in the importance of addressing the impact of systemic racism resulting in the loss of heritage and language.
“I integrate both the joys and pains of my heritage into my teaching because there are powerful sociological explanations for why they matter.”