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Embracing My Heritage Series: Adalys Alvarado

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Adalys joined the Chicago Center in the spring of 2019, where she student taught at Curie High School. Since then, she has moved back to the city, where she teaches music and advocates for Latinx and Chicanx through many organizations in Chicago.

CC: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

AA: It is a time to share experiences, cultures, and embrace diversity. I grew up in a neighborhood that had limited experiences in multicultural activities and growing up I was not able to celebrate because my surroundings never embraced Hispanic heritage. Now, having a month dedicated to celebrating Hispanic heritage has also allowed me to learn more about the cultures that in many ways have impacted my life.

CC: How do you celebrate your heritage?

AA: I celebrate my heritage by sharing music, food, and traditions year-round. I am now teaching music and including Spanish songs that will impact not only students but their families. I support small businesses and encourage others to experience my heritage alongside me.

CC: While at the Chicago Center, did you ever visit any Hispanic neighborhoods? If so, where did you go?

AA: While being in the program I visited Pilsen often to eat tacos. I still frequent it as it is much closer to me, and the tacos are still top 10!

CC: Tell us about the work you do now and how you feel you are impacting the community or communities you serve.

AA: I am a CPS teacher working in Humboldt Park teaching music. I have worked with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) to give students a diverse education in Latinx music. I have made it a goal of mine to teach students more about Latinx music as I think it is important to teach the culture these students are surrounded by. I have worked on creating a curriculum that includes diversity rather than teaching diversity. It has been a change that has motivated parents to want to learn with their children.

CC: Tell us about any success or highlights since your Chicago Center experience that we can share with our community.

AA: Through my work, I have created many relationships to start programs for students to continue learning about Hispanic culture through music. I have worked very hard to help fund a program for the community I work with, and I am continuously finding new ways to impact the neighborhood outside of music. I have also been advocating for Latinx and Chicanx people who seek racial, economic, gender and climate justice by joining a group called Mijente. With them we created a support community in the surrounding suburbs of Chicago. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to live in Chicago through the Chicago Center as they are the reason I moved and learned to love the city.

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