2022 AAHHE National Conference

Cultivating Justicia con Amor y Querencia: Embracing Healing through Policies and Practices that Transform Institutions for Latinx/a/o Communities

Cultivando Justicia con Amor y Querencia: Sanando las Comunidades Latinx con Políticas y Prácticas que Transforman las Instituciones

March 10 - 11, 2022
Nevada State College, Henderson Nevada


The 2022 AAHHE National Conference theme 'Cultivating Justicia con Amor y Querencia: Embracing Healing through Policies and Practices that Transform Institutions for Latinx/a/o Communities' aims to showcase the transformative work happening within the Latinx community.  The current precarious times lead us to foster higher education environments that center amor (love) and querencia (intentional care) in the pursuit of justicia (justice); querencia is the care received within a space that is safe, affirming, empowering and feels like home through the unwaivering amor from those within such a space. AAHHE hopes that by striving for justice through amor and querencia, higher education leaders will enact policies and practices that move beyond coping with injustices and instead offer healing moments for Latinx/a/o communities. For additional information on the conference theme, please click here.

The 2022 AAHHE National Conference is showcasing the following five conference strands:

Fostering Querencia by Centering Intersectional Identities and Experiences of Latinx/o/a Students

This strand a) aims to interrogate the ways in which researchers, practitioners, and policymakers center Latinx/a/o college student identity development and experiences; b) prioritizes sessions that engage with asset-based perspectives to recognize the intersectional identities and experiences of students from Latinx/a/o communities that have historically been placed on the margins; and c) seeks to acknowledge the ways in which Latinx/a/o students are differentially situated in higher education and in society based on their intersecting identities and overlapping systems of power. Proposals that attend to the following identities and experiences are welcomed:

  • Interrogating anti-Blackness, racism, and colorism within the Latinx/a/o community and in higher education.
  • Challenging notions of Latinidad and mestizaje in the identity development of students, staff and faculty.
  • Examining gender and sexuality as it relates to the identities of students and systems of power.
  • Centering the experiences of Afro-Latinx/a/o, Central Americans, and Caribbean Latinx/a/o in postsecondary settings.
  • Focusing on Indigenous communities in higher education.
  • Acknowledging the intersectional narrative within the Latinx/a/o community


Building Coalitions through Latinx/a/o Intersectional Activism

This strand a) encourages the act of reimagining advocacy and activism in higher education at both individual and systemic levels; b) seeks to underscore and highlight the various ways Latinx/a/o communities resist systems of oppression through activism, social movements, grassroots organizing, and other forms of challenging the status quo; and c) addresses long-standing educational inequities and to forge a more inclusive and just path forward. Proposals that disrupt oppressive systems in the following areas are welcomed:

  • Situating race and ethnicity as drivers of student activism that challenge anti-Blackness and white supremacy at both Hispanic Serving Institutions and Predominantly White Institutions.
  • Examining ways in which sex and gender are used as vehicles of empowerment and demand for change.
  • Interrogating the ways in which institutions of higher education continue to be violent environments for LGBTQ+ Latinx/a/o students, faculty and staff.
  • Coalition building to challenge xenophobic, anti-immigration rhetoric and legislation and nationalistic.
  • Recognizing and leveraging the intersections of race, gender, class, and more to resist systems of oppression.
  • Examine the generational differences between student activists and established college faculty and leaders.
  • Engaging in activism that centers decolonial practices as a means of creating a paradigm shift.


Transforming Policy, Leadership, and Institutions through Querencia and Justicia

Querencia (Intentional Care) and Justicia (Justice) is critical for transforming policies, leadership and institutions to better serve Latinx/a/o communities within higher education. This strand seeks proposals that a) prioritize practices of intentional care, examine new ways of creating policies and practices that center social justice; and b) focus on the active engagement and utilization of perspectives that aim and are successful in disrupting and dismantling hegemonic power structures and systemic obstacles that exist within higher education. Proposals that attend to the following issues are welcomed:

  • Enhancing and fostering querencia-based leadership.
  • Utilization of practices and policies that humanize those within higher education institutions.
  • Enacting justice and care centric efforts that foster student success.
  • Engaging in creating pathways to executive leadership within higher education.
  • Enriching the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).
  • Improving tenure and promotion policies and practices.
  • Fostering partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs.


Forging Community Partnerships con Cariño for Equity in PreK-16 institutions

Through cariño, asset-based partnerships often serve as vehicles for student success, both inside and outside the classroom. This strand seeks proposals that: a) challenge the systems that have disadvantaged and marginalized Latinx/a/o students and their families throughout the educational pathway from PreK-16 and beyond; b) highlight intentionally student-focused and co-curated approaches that center access, equity, and inclusion for Latinx/a/o communities; and c) discuss how partnerships have led to increased student agency as well as educational, social, and economic mobility of the Latinx community. Proposals that center on the the following topics are welcomed:

  • Critically examining and rethinking the educational pipeline for Latinx/a/o students.
  • Assessing the PreK-16 barriers and constrictions with input of students, families and communities.
  • Investing in family networks for academic support.
  • Engaging in community-based mentorship and investment in Latinx/a/o students.
  • Building collaboration among educational stakeholders.
  • Creating culturally relevant college-going and college-navigating skills, in ways that are accessible to Latinx/a/o families and caretakers.
  • Leveraging peer mentorship that results in the empowerment of Latinx/a/o students.


Prioritizing Healing through Latinx/o/a Communal, Radical, & Self Care

Healing and wellness in Latinx/o/a communities are critical for moving forward in higher education places and spaces. This requires scholars and practitioners to examine the emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and psychological factors that support the healing of the Latinx/o/a community in higher education, while seeking to identify and promote the ways that the Latinx/o/a community enacts productive coping and healing strategies. This strand seeks proposals that offer new ways of approaching radical healing as a framework with its components grounded in anchors such as collectivism, critical consciousness, radical hope, strength and resistance, and cultural authenticity and self-knowledge. Proposals that include the following issues are welcomed:

  • Evaluating Institutional support among and within departments and how institutions and organizations create a sense of belonging for Latinx/o/a college students.
  • Confronting the microaggressions, racial battle fatigue, imposter syndrome, and stereotype threat experiences among students, staff and faculty.
  • Addressing sexual assault, survivor guilt and the re-centering of consciousness within the university environment.
  • Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the Latinx/o/a community and in higher education.
  • Attentive to the challenges in accessing mental and physical health care in higher education environments.
  • Engaging in holistic healing practices and spaces that foster growth and emotional wellness.
  • Utilizing Art, poetry, spoken word, and performances that center Afro-Latinidad and the greater Latinx/a/o diaspora.
  • De-coupling mental health and social stigma associated with coping and healing.