MA hosted a pizza lunch featuring a panel of recent alums who are multilingual and grew up speaking mostly Spanish at home. The alums shared their challenges and successes at MA with current MA students. One of a series of "Belonging@MA" lunches which aim to create opportunities for students who don't always see themselves reflected in the majority culture at MA, yet very much belong here, this event was led by Pilar Góngora, Family Liaison, and co-designed by Juliet Dana, Director of Student Inclusion and Belonging.
In Pilar’s role as Family Liaison, she strives to ensure all families feel a sense of belonging and experience equitable access at MA. She coordinates translation for interested families, often serving as a Spanish translator herself for school events from Welcome Day through graduation. She provides translation for written communications from the school, identifies and collaborates with translators in other languages, reaches out to families to encourage them to attend events, and organizes meetings with families, advisors, learning services, or college counseling to make sure parents and guardians can be present in their student’s academic experience without barriers.
Several students at the lunch event talked about what a fierce advocate Pilar had been for them—how they knew she had their backs while they navigated this predominantly white and monolingual-English-speaking school community. One of the students in attendance turned to Pilar, and with tears in her eyes, told Pilar how instrumental she had been in helping her, expressing profound gratitude for that support. “I leaned on our community,” she said. “They're the ones who got me through.''