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XIES Summer Program will teach students rich history and culture of Latino and Chicano heritage


After a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Xicanx Institute for Education and Self-Determination will be offering programming again to students this summer. 

This summer, the XIES program will run for two weeks from July 31-August 3 and August 7-10, Monday-Thursday, from 4:30-8 p.m. There will be a celebration on Saturday, August 12. Courses will take place at Madison College-Truax Campus.

Silvia Gomez de Soriano serves as the program coordinator for the XIES Summer Program. Gomez de Soriano works at East High School as a Spanish Bi-cultural Bilingual Resource Specialist (BRS), an advisor for Raza United and the MENA Student Association.

Silvia Gomez De Soriano

 She is working closely with Mickey Mestiza and Zaira Magaña to create the program for this year and to ensure that students are able to learn about Chicano and Latino history.

 This year’s theme is, “How do we transform the spiritual warfare our ancestors turned the time for, and how do we awaken our ancestors?” Gomez de Soriano and Mestiza brainstormed this topic for this year’s programming because they want the sessions to be meaningful and impactful for participants. 

“There has been a lot of things happening all around,” Gomez de Soriano said. “I feel like a lot of our students are not knowing what to do and how they can be part of this, correcting or fixing these injustices. Because they don’t know how much power that they have, in order to do that.”

Gomez de Soriano understands the need for this institute because there will no longer be Chicano studies programming at East High School anymore. She hopes that students learn and are inspired by the sessions that are available to them throughout the program.

One of the sessions will be hosted by Dr. Manuel Zamarripa & Tlazoltiani Jessica Zamarripa, who are the co-founders of the Institute of Chicana/o/x Psychology & Community Wellness. Local Mexican artist and muralist Rodrigo Carapia will also be hosting a session for students. 

Jesús Avila is a teacher and cultural curator who will be hosting a workshop titled “Workshop: Huehuetl, Voices of Our Ancestors.” Local youth advocate Dr. Roberto Rivera is also hosting a workshop titled “From LD to Ph.D.” Fill out the XIES Summer Program registration to participate in this year’s programming. 

There is also an additional optional overnight trip to the Menominee Reservation from Friday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 6. For $30, students will be able to learn from elders, volunteer at the concession stands during the Regional Powwow. In order to attend the trip, participants must attend the program during the first week. 

Food and travel will be covered in the costs as well. Gomez de Soriano has gone to the reservation with students before and is looking forward to being in nature again. 

“I like to say it was a weekend to disconnect in order to reconnect,” she said. “There were no cell phone towers over there, so no one’s cell phone worked. But it was a time where students were now more focused on seeing the sky, with a bunch of stars, hearing the eagles, and looking in the forest … nature was all around.”

Gomez de Soriano hopes those who are interested join them in learning more about the rich history and culture of the Latino and Chicano heritage. She wants readers to know that this programming is open to everyone, specifically high school and college students. 

“I just want to make sure everybody understands it’s not an exclusive program,” she added. “Anyone can join and participate. There will be a Latino, Raza, Chicano focus, but it is going to be so much knowledge. And I believe that knowledge is power.”


For more information about the sessions and programming visit the XIES Facebook page to learn more