BESITOS stories have spanned over 20 years of persistence across predominately White spaces. The BESITOS program model (Herrera, Morales, Holmes, & Terry, 2011) served as a gateway to higher education for more than 200 students, with students of color comprising nearly 90 percent of teacher education graduates. At the heart of the program’s purpose were socio-reconstructive opportunities for students to explore their own identities, as grounded in their communities and the public schools they attended. Some of these prior social influences had hegemonically instilled a meaning perspective of doubt – an imposter syndrome that limited their potentials as students and as future professionals.
Differential opportunities of the program responsively fostered critical consciousness, positive racial and linguistic identity development, and shared resolve in becoming themselves, before becoming teachers. They cast aside the language of the oppressor in order to better comprehend their world and its various oppressive systems, as revealed through their histories, contexts of socialization, and counternarratives.
Although designed for students of color, BESITOS also encompassed a small cadre of white students who were willing to reflect upon their own identity formation, become bilingual, and build their capacities for social justice. Collectively, these future teachers engaged in race-visible dialogues that envisioned a future where students’ assets, trajectories, and potentials were maximized.
The BESITOS documentary highlights the stories of five educators whose individual narratives reflect their personal journeys and echo the histories of participants whose stories have been researched and chronicled over the last two decades (e.g., Herrera & Holmes, 2015; Herrera & Morales, 2018; Herrera, Murry, & Holmes, in press; Holmes, Fanning, Morales, Espinoza, & Herrera, 2012; Holmes & Herrera, 2009; Morales, Diaz de Sabátes, Fanning, & Murry, 2007).
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