Celebrate National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month

April marks the National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month, a time dedicated to recognizing the rich linguistic diversity that bilingual and multilingual individuals bring to our communities, schools, and workplaces. This month, we celebrate the achievements, resilience, and cultural contributions of learners navigating their educational journeys in more than one language. Join us in promoting awareness, advocacy, and appreciation for the complexities and benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism.

Why Celebrate?

  • Acknowledging Diversity: Highlighting the importance of linguistic diversity and its role in enriching our society.
  • Supporting Learners: Encouraging the academic and social support of bilingual and multilingual learners in educational systems worldwide.
  • Sharing Success Stories: Providing a platform for individuals to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs in learning and using multiple languages.

Get Involved!

  • Share Your Story: Are you a bilingual/multilingual learner or educator? Share your journey and inspire others through your experiences.
  • Advocacy and Awareness: Engage with campaigns focused on policy changes and initiatives that support multilingual education and learners.


Celebrating Linguistic Diversity: Individual Journeys of Bilingualism

The tapestry of human experience is richly woven with languages, each thread representing a unique story of cultural heritage, personal growth, and the bridging of worlds. Below are the stories of individuals who navigate life through more than one language which illuminates the beauty of bilingualism and its profound impact on personal identity, community, and cross-cultural understanding.

Elisa Pujals: Dreaming in Spanish

“I grew up in a bilingual and bicultural household. My parents are both from Caribbean islands. When we were little, we always spoke Spanish. When my grandparents came from Cuba, we were able to bond because we could speak to each other. Every summer, my Puerto Rican cousins quickly updated us on the latest ‘jerga.’ I say my native language is now Spanglish. When my kids were born, I knew it was important that I teach them Spanish. This proved way more difficult than I thought it would be. Even my parents switch to English when the kids are around. I signed them up for Spanish music classes and then dual immersion school. I beat myself up for speaking so much English to them. The other day, my 7-year-old was sleeping next to me, and she started speaking in Spanish while she was dreaming. I was thrilled! I am grateful for dual immersion education and can’t wait for them to see what a gift it is to be bilingual.”

Adrianne Shaw: PIQE Deputy Director, San Diego

“Raising bilingual daughters has been entertaining as they become immersed in the English language and think in this language; some of their translations can be amusing. ‘Save my candy bag/Sálvame mi bolsa de dulces,’ ‘Can I have a glass of water?/¿Puedo tener un vaso de agua?’ It gets even better when trying to explain to them Mexican phrases. I always use the phrase ‘Los patos le tiran a las escopetas.’ I recently discovered my youngest always understood ‘the ducks are in a bucket!!’ Which makes no sense in either language!”

Solimar Castro: Bilingual Parent

“My family is bilingual, and we are proud to see our children being bilingual. Whenever I see them assisting someone who needs help with a translation, it’s comforting to hear them.”

Claudia Cortez: Parent

“I grew up in a home where only Spanish was spoken. In school, I was enrolled in the bilingual program from kindergarten to 6th grade. In high school, I decided to take French during my freshman and sophomore years. Now one of my sons is enrolled in the TWBI PROGRAM at one of the elementary schools in Dixon, CA. It was nice to know more than one language. I was able to help my teachers when there were non-English speaking learners in our class and even in my work; it came in handy to be bilingual even though I got paid the same wage. I was able to assist others when needed, and my son will have the chance to do the same. Thank you DUSD for bringing back the bilingual program to our students.”

Evelyn Molina: Multilingual

“Growing up in a wealthy family in Mexico, my brother and I got a private teacher who used to come to our house Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for us to study English and French. At the time we didn’t know where our parents were going to take us, so we had to learn the basics in English and French. My parents brought us to the USA back in 2006. Being in school and knowing a little of the language helped us to catch up quickly and learn more about the USA culture. As my brother and I got older, I continued practicing French. And now as a mother, I learned how to speak sign language because I didn’t want my child to be pointing at things as she was learning to speak. So now both of my children speak sign language, English, and Spanish. I am currently teaching my oldest to practice her French. On her own, she is learning Italian as she loves cartoons that are in Italian. Both my parents spoke English. Hopefully, my children teach their kids more than one language to open up more opportunities in their life.”

Sandra Juan: Working Mother

“I grew up in a small family composed of parents, sisters and a brother, all Spanish speaking. When we moved to the United States, we had to learn the basics of the English language to survive. I remember that I was 16 years old when we had a school trip to Disneyland in Burbank, CA. We barely arrived, and we had to buy our food. To my surprise, no one spoke Spanish at the window. We showed with our fingers what we wanted to eat and paid for them. The employee at the register was asking and making signs, trying to tell us something, but we did not understand anything. That made me really uncomfortable and sad. Since then, I disliked going to Disneyland. Nowadays, I understand and can speak the language. I feel a great sense of accomplishment being bilingual and raising my daughters to be bilingual. I hope they can learn other languages too.”

Diana T.: We Are a Bilingual Family

“My name is Diana, I grew up with my parents, they are bilingual, they speak Spanish. As you know, it is nice to be bilingual in the United States for many reasons. Currently, bilingual people have more advantages than ever, from having access to better-paid jobs, opportunities to study in other countries, and even expanding their social circle and helping people to translate. I remember that as I was growing up, my mother told me at home we spoke Spanish and at school English, and I told her that I didn’t want to learn another language. As I was growing up, I realized that being bilingual was very important. Now, for this reason, I tell my children that it is very important to be bilingual and I encourage them to help people who need assistance with a translation. I also tell them that being bilingual can provide more opportunities for them and they, at the same time, can provide help to people who need it. When I was growing up, I helped people at school and at work with translations. I feel proud of being bilingual, and I want people to be proud of that too. Don’t be afraid to speak more than one language.”

Maria Salinas: Bilingual Teacher

“I am a teacher teaching an indigenous language (Chatino from Oaxaca). I am a mother of 4 children of 5, 9, 11, and 17 years old. I wanted to share that I am very proud of them; they speak English, Spanish, and Chatino. I instill in my children that my mother tongue cannot be lost. I am fighting to rescue my culture, my roots, and, of course, more than anything, I like to teach so that they can be good citizens to build a community in a healthy environment and much academic success in the future. Thank you for this space! My daughter Estrella, 17 years old, dreams of joining a university to realize her dream and have a better future.

Vianney Luna: I Am Bilingual

“I am Mexican and arrived to this country fourteen years ago. Seven years after being a resident, I became a citizen of this country! My English may not be good, but over the years, it has improved. In Mexico, I studied communications at the University for four and a half years. For the past two years, now in the USA, I have been studying Child Development at Madera College. This year I will become a preschool teacher, and I have been working since last September in Madera. Although the district does not consider me bilingual because I didn’t pass a translation exam, I know I make my best effort, and the teachers I have worked with understand what I want to say. I thank them and God because I have learned a lot and continue to learn!!!

Sergio R. Rosas: PIQE Executive Director

“Growing up in Tijuana, Baja California, I started studying English at the age of 10. I remember two anecdotes: first, my friends who didn’t speak English would ask me to say a word in English and then laugh at me. Secondly, I remember being asked by friends and relatives if I had to translate everything from Spanish to English first and then say it. I would respond that it was automatic, and they were in awe.”

Abigail Maldonado: 1st Generation in the 90s

“I am the first-born Mexican American in my parents’ family. I’m also the eldest, having two younger siblings. I did not have a close family to practice my English growing up. I had a hard time learning to speak it. My Spanish was not good either; I had lots of trouble in speech. I was extremely shy. That made it worse. In middle school, I finally reclassified as an English learner. It got better, but my Spanish still needed to improve. This is why I took a Spanish class for a second language to learn. I wanted to improve my speech, my writing, and to be able to read it. Which is why I think it’s important to offer Spanish classes in High School. It’s where our future generations can improve, learn, and perfect their Spanish. This is something what I tell my five children.”

María Paz Beas: My Children Proud to be Bilingual “English and Spanish”

“My children were born here but grew up speaking both languages, which they, and we as parents, are very proud of. We have had some difficulties because sometimes we couldn’t help our children with the English language, but thankfully they have had excellent teachers who have helped us. We have always been very attentive to them, we are aware of their failures, successes and needs, and we always support them. Our priority is and will always be the education of our children and that they feel proud of our roots and, above all, of being ‘bilingual.’ Being bilingual should be something you are proud of and not an obstacle.”

Blanca Rubia Escobar Hernandez: PIQE Deputy Director-Modesto

“My name is Blanca Rubia Escobar. I am from El Salvador, and PIQE is an organization that inspires us to see the future turned into a reality and motivates us to fight for the dreams that our children have.”

Raquel Sanchez Leon: My Children are Bilingual

“My four children -Edgar Urbina, Martin Urbina, Ramses Garnica, and Montserrat Santiago-, have been in bilingual programs, and each day they continue learning. It is very important that programs like these continue to exist to help our students become bilingual and prepare them so that they are able to help people who need assistance with translations in their jobs or in their daily lives. For me, as a mother, your future and well, that of other people and communities, is very important.”

David Garcia: Trilingual

“I am a child from Mexico who emigrated to the United States, and I speak the Mixteco language, my mother’s native language. I also speak Spanish, and here I am learning English. I like to continue learning different languages.”