¡Salud! and Seasons Greetings! We are Lisa Aponte-Soto and Saúl I. Maldonado, AEA GEDI alumni and co-chairs of LA RED, the Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Network. Aponte-Soto serves as National Program Deputy Director of RWJF New Connections at the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning. Maldonado is Adjunct Faculty at Santa Clara University’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology.
LA RED is a network of Latina/o AEA members driven by a collective mission of transformative leadership to: (1) increase the representation, engagement, and leadership of Latina/os in evaluation; and, (2) develop professional discourse for Latina/o Responsive Evaluation (LRE) theory, methods, and practices. Today, LA RED launches an aea365 week on Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse. Below are our reflections on this week’s lessons learned, rad resources and hot tips from LA RED membership: Art Hernandez, Lisa Aponte-Soto, Wanda Casillas, Leah Christina Neubauer, Josie Serrata, Martha Hernandez, Grisel Robles-Schrader, Maria Jimenez, and Andrea Guajardo.
Lesson Learned on Defining LRE Practices:
- Acknowledge Pan-ethnicity. Latina/o evaluators represent diverse cultural backgrounds and perspectives. As a pan-ethnic term, Latina/o, has social and political benefits and boundaries. One benefit of ethnic aggregation is the allocation of resources; one boundary is the possible blurring of specific ethnic identities. We caution that Latina/os are not a homogeneous group, and self-identification as Latina/o evaluators does not qualify as expertise for all Latina/o subgroups or communities.
- Attend to language and culture. Evaluators learning from, with and for Latina/o communities must respect language and cultural nuances in the customization of evaluation design and data collection instruments.
- Learn from History. It is important to recognize that historically evaluation practices of Latina/o communities in the U.S. have marginalized and created barriers to the perception and subsequent conduct of evaluation.
- Engage Community. Inclusion demands a paradigm shift from evaluations of Latina/o communities to evaluations with/for Latina/o communities. This calls for prioritizing respect when collaborating with Latina/o communities and advocating for participatory methods, from co-creating instruments and reviewing data together to amplifying our avenues for sharing findings.
- Participate in Dialogue. Culturally responsive evaluations with/for Latina/os requires continuous dialogue that will be negotiated and renegotiated based on the contexts of identity, locality, geography, migration, country of origin, language, and much more.
- Apply LatCrit. Drawing on critical race theory, we need to expand to frameworks rooted in Latino-based practices like LatCrit and question the utility of prescriptive linear and sequential logic models as the primary, and often only, pathway for evaluation design.
- Championing LRE. To enact these practices, recruiting, retaining and training Latina/o leadership in evaluation as well as creating the conditions for a community of practice for all colleagues conducting evaluations with/for Latina/o communities serve as distinctive, yet complementary, goals.
LA RED looks forward to learning from/with you.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Network members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.