Warm-up: Reflecting on needs in students’ own communities, and the leaders and organizations working to address those needs.
Introducing the Lesson: In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, this lesson plan focuses on a collection of stories that highlight how Latinx leaders and organizations have played a critical role in meeting the needs of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introducing the Reporting: Students choose to read one or more Pulitzer Center-supported stories about Latinx leaders and community organizations.
Reflection and Discussion: Sharing brief summaries of the stories students explored and discussing how Latinx leaders and community organizations are providing services and tackling challenges in their communities.
- Research and presentation on a Latinx community leader
- Research and presentation on a famous Latinx figure
- Writing a letter advocating for change
- Finding an underreported story in your local community
The pandemic has changed the way that many community-based organizations operate and serve their communities. Take a moment to think about how organizations and leaders where you live are providing pandemic-related services and or resources.
On their own or with a partner students should answer the following questions:
- What resources or services have increased in demand due to the pandemic in your community?
- How have local organizations or leaders responded to these pandemic-related needs?
- How can community organizations and/or leaders meet community needs and provide essential services during the current pandemic?
Introducing the Lesson:
Community-based organizations and leaders intimately understand their community’s needs. As a result, they can play a vital role during times of crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how important community-based organizations and leaders are in delivering critical services and programs to vulnerable populations. In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, this lesson explores a collection of stories that spotlight community-based organizations and leaders on the frontlines of serving the Latinx community. From dispelling misinformation about the pandemic to fighting hunger in food deserts to keeping arts and cultural programming alive, these organizations and leaders have been critical in understanding and meeting various needs of their communities. After learning about Latinx leaders across the country through these stories, students will research and celebrate local community organizations and Latinx leaders building a better world in their own backyard.
Introducing the Resources:
Choose one of these stories about Latinx leaders and community organization to explore. Students can work independently or in small groups to read the stories they select. While reading, consider: What need(s) does this leader or organization identify, and how are they working to meet it? Be prepared to share your answer with the class.
This story explores how the Latino Task Force, a community-based organization, is responding to the coronavirus pandemic in San Francisco to meet the needs of the Latinx population. The Latino Task Force works at the local level and provides community members with various resources including social, financial, and food services.
This story explores how two Chicago community museums turned to digital programming due to the coronavirus pandemic. The National Museum of Mexican Art and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture had to swiftly adapt to the pandemic and find new ways to provide their community with educational resources including summer camps.
This story explores how Latinx-led community health groups are working to help people improve their nutrition. Community groups like SOMOS Community Care and Plant Powered Metro New York are promoting healthier lifestyles among Latinx community members, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
This story is about promotoras de salud—community health workers—who are tackling misinformation about the coronavirus in Chicago’s Latinx communities. These leaders use a peer-to-peer model to connect with community members on a level that is often hard for medical professionals.
This story explores how La Cocina, a nonprofit incubator for low-income, immigrant, and minority food entrepreneurs, reinvented itself due to the coronavirus pandemic in order to respond to community needs.
This story is a profile on Erika Guadalupe, the new Executive Director of Juntos, an immigrant rights organization based in South Philadelphia. Juntos, which traditionally focused on organizing, shifted its priorities to provide direct services during the pandemic. “I realized that we can’t do campaigns unless our people are taken care of,” Guadalupe explains.
Reflection and Discussion:
Use details from the story you read, and your own reflections and experiences, to respond to the following questions. These questions can be explored as part of whole-class discussions or small-group discussions.
- In what ways are the community-based organizations and/or leaders you read about today similar to or different from one another? (Discuss this question with classmates/groups who read a different story from the one you did.)
- What are some of the pandemic-related challenges and needs that community-based organizations and leaders are addressing, and how have they sprung into action?
- Why is it important for Latinx people in need of help to be able to seek help from fellow Latinx individuals and organizations? (Think about shared language and cultural ties.)
- Why are community-based organizations and community leaders important in moments of crisis? In what ways are they uniquely positioned to help their communities?
- Why do you think it's important to share stories about Latinx leaders and community organizations? How could the stories you learned about today inform your thinking and/or action?
1. Research and Presentation on a Latinx Community Leader: Who is a Latinx leader, changemaker, or activist in your community? Do some research and identify a Latinx leader or organization in your city, state, or country. If possible, reach out and interview this individual or a representative of the organization. Put together a presentation to share with the class. Address the following questions in your presentation:
- Why are they considered a community leader?
- What is their mission?
- What issues, solutions, actions, or policies do they champion or support?
- How might we support their work in our everyday lives?
2. Research and Presentation on a Famous Latinx Figure: Who is a famous Latinx figure whose career, activism, or life interests you? Do some research and identify a famous Latinx figure. Then, create a presentation about this person that you will be sharing with your class. Address the following questions in your presentation:
- Why did you choose this figure? What about them interests you?
- How have they contributed to the Latinx community?
3. Write a Letter Advocating for Change: The stories you read today are about community-based organizations and leaders who are helping meet pandemic-related needs within the Latinx community. If you are inspired by the issues affecting the Latinx community, write a letter to a local representative calling for action on this issue. In your letter express your concern about the issue you are calling attention to. You can mail or email a letter to most elected representatives. Consider writing to a local, state, or national representative.
Students can enter their letters into our Local Letters Writing Contest for the chance to win prizes and publication. You can also find a letter-writing template and other resources to help craft persuasive letters at www.pulitzercenter.org/LocalLetters.
4. Find an Underreported Story in Your Community: The Pulitzer Center is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to supporting underreported stories like the ones you read today. An underreported story is a news story that doesn't get as much attention in the news. What are the underreported stories in your school or neighborhood? This can be about any underreported issue in your community that you feel is not receiving the attention it should. When choosing an underreported story ask yourself the following questions:
- What is something in your community that you think is important, but that you don't see much about in the news?
- What is happening and why?
- Who is affected and why?
- Why is this story important?
- What online sources could you use to learn more?
- Who could you interview?
- Who is connected to this issue and how?
- What places might you visit to see the causes and impacts of this issue for yourself?
After identifying an underreported issue, embark on your own reporting project and pitch it to your school or local newspaper. For more support on finding and telling underreported stories, check out the following resources:
- How to Find and Analyze Underreported Stories
- How to find and analyze underreported stories: Critical thinking, text analysis and writing
- Interview Techniques for Telling Under-reported Stories
- How to Describe Places to Tell Under-Reported Stories: From Drafting to Editing
- How to Tell Underreported Stories with Photography
Common Core Standards:
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.