The Equity Extra

Equity, Inclusion and Instruction

October 2022 Edition

Meet our new team members!

Ileana Ayala- Cultural Navigator: Migrant ED

Ileana Ayala comes from a first-generation Mexican immigrant family. Growing up in rural southern Oregon, there weren’t many resources to help navigate the education system for her family. Her struggle and lack of representation in education motivated her to be the first college graduate in her family, earning a BS degree in Educational Foundations from the University of Oregon. She brings experience from Portland Public Schools and nonprofit organizations advocating for educational support for Latinx families. She is so happy to be relocated to Eugene after 10 years and is eager to work with 4j families and staff to continue the work towards equity in public schools. She is a proud mother of 3 wonderful children, twin daughters, and a toddler son. She enjoys running, thrifting, and learning about plant medicine.

Anne Vela

My name is Anne Vela, I am the District Newcomer Coordinator. I will focus on Newcomer (new to the U.S.) students and their education plans. I am looking forward to building a Newcomer program for our district to serve the unique needs of those who are here to seek refuge from their home country.

I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education. I taught 4th and 5th grade in schools that served the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I was also a 1st-grade teacher, a K-2 STEM teacher, and taught 5th grade in Las Vegas. I have a nonprofit that provides online English language classes for refugees called Foundation for English language Acquisition. We partner with Church World Service, a resettlement agency in New York, to provide these classes to as many adult new arrivals as possible. I am also a mother of two boys who are 17 and 14, and two dogs. I love to travel above all else, but when I am not traveling the next best thing for me is cooking. I am happy to be here in Oregon and look forward to the work ahead of me.

Jasmin Lopez Torres- Program Assistant ELD

Jasmin Lopez Torres was born and raised in Cottage Grove, Oregon. She went to OSU and received her BS in Human Development and Family Sciences. After graduation, Jasmin secured a job at the Relief Nursery in Eugene. Working at this nonprofit sparked her interest in pursuing a career in education. Jasmin then transitioned into 4J as an educational assistant at Sheldon High School. Having the opportunity to work with EL students at the secondary level was fulfilling. Jasmin enjoyed connecting with the students, as she herself was an EL student in the past. Working with the students, and having some background knowledge of ELD, has led her to this position where she is uniquely qualified. Jasmin is excited to be part of this amazing team, and looks forward to a great year! In her free time, she enjoys going on hikes, playing the ukulele, and spending time with her puppy, Scooby.

Spencer Wilson

My Name is Spencer Wilson. I recently just took the job as BSU Program Coordinator. I was born in Houston, Texas and I was adopted fto a family here in a little town called Cottage Grove, OR. I went through Elementary and Middle School in Cottage Grove. I then transferred to North Eugene High. During my High School years, I was active in sports. I played football, basketball, baseball, and track. I also helped restart the Black Student Union and was named BSU President Junior and Senior years. I graduated in 2017! After High School, I bounced around different colleges, the last college I attended was Bushnell University! I pursued music and a public relations degree. Before working at the school district I worked as a manager at the Eugene Airport for a year. I also currently coach basketball and football at North Eugene High School. As the BSU Program Coordinator, I am excited to work with the kids and advisors and make it a safer and better place for kids of color! I want to make this a strong impactful year and keep moving forward!

Indigenous People’s Day:

Indigenous Peoples Day was first proposed at a 1977 United Nations conference by Indigenous People as a replacement for and reframing of the inaccurate portrayal that was being celebrated as Columbus Day. The purpose of Indigenous People’s Day is to to honor Indigenous Peoples past, present and future. It also highlights the impact and legacy colonization had on Native communities. On this day we celebrate the cultures, contributions and resilience of Indigenous Peoples. It is a day to challenge the widespread invisibility of Indigenous history by making space for them and for their perspective to be centered and celebrated. This day is observed on the second Monday in October.

Some ways you can celebrate/observe Indigenous Peoples Day:

  • Acknowledge the Indigenous lands you are on
  • Attend a celebration or educational opportunity
  • Support Indigenous people’s rights organizations
  • Plant Native plants
  • Check out Indigenous literature and entertainment
  • Attend an event hosted by a Native American organization

Edith Gomez Navarrete Regional Equity Manager: Churchill

Indigenous Peoples Collection

4J Librarian Amy Page graciously curated a selection of books for Indigenous Peoples Day!

ECCO Little Library

Jill Johnson Program Supervisor for the Young Parent Program poses with the new Little Library that was sponsored by the Welcome Center for the program.

1st Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration

The 1st Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration was a huge success with over 500 attendees and over 20 agencies involved.

A big thanks to Vanessa Vasquez, Alicia Longoria, and the rest of the Welcome Center staff for putting this event together!

Exploring Latino Diversity in the United States​

What does it mean to be Latino? To be Hispanic? To be Latinx? What does it mean to be American? Join us to learn about the complexity and diversity of Latino identity.


On this October 11, National Coming Out Day will continue to raise awareness for individuals within the LGBTQ+ community, and champion the idea that homophobia thrives in silence. On this day, many people who identify as LGBTQ+ will “come out” (a term stemming from the phrase “come out of the closet”) to friends or family about their sexuality, which is a very big moment! Beyond this, the history of the LGBTQ+ movement is a beacon of light — its champions are honored, and it underlines the personal being political. It’s also a chance to celebrate the liberation spirit — many do this by waving flags associated with LGBTQ+ groups or donning pins. National Coming Out Day is celebrated on October 11 each year. The first observation was in 1988 and by 1990 it was being celebrated internationally.


National Coming Out Day was inspired by a single march. 500,000 people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987, generating momentum to last for 4 months after the march had ended. During this period, over a hundred LGBTQ+ identifying individuals gathered outside Washington, DC, and decided on creating a national day to celebrate coming out – this began on the 1st anniversary of their historic march. It was Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary who first proposed the idea of NCOD. Eichberg founded a person growth workshop, The Experience, and at the time, O’Leary was the head of National Gay Rights Advocates. Eichberg, who would later die in 1995 of complications from AIDS, had said the strongest tool in the human rights movement was to illustrate that most people already know and respect someone in the LGBTQ+ community, and NCOD helps these people come to light.

Over the last 15 years, the Human Rights Campaign has chosen a theme for every National Coming Out Day — 2014 and 2013 were both themed “Coming Out Still Matters,” and the earliest theme (1999) was “Come Out To Congress.” There have also been different spokespeople for each NCOD. Some notable names include “Frasier” actor Dan Butler and Candance Gingrich, half-sister of Newt Gingrich, in the 1990s. NCOD gains popularity and participants every year. Since its inception, countless public figures and celebrities have openly identified themselves as LGBTQ+, and yearly share messages of support and hope for those still in the closet. Notable celebrities who tweeted in support of NCOD in 2019 include Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and actress and advocate Sara Ramirez. The event plans to continue its efforts to eradicate hate and homophobia with friends and family coming out to dispel stereotypes.

Ten Tips on how to be a LGBTQIA+ Ally:

1. Respect everyone’s differences and recognize that there are varying levels of comfort about coming out or discussing identities. Some LGBTQIA+ people might still be getting comfortable with their identity or may be shy discussing personal details. Respect boundaries and follow the lead of the LGBTQIA+ individual when it comes to discussing their identity and experience.

2. Show support and interest. It’s okay and sometimes encouraged to ask (non-intrusive) questions. Make sure you have built trust with this person and are in or have created a safe space before asking or answering questions. Remember that people have different levels of comfort in answering them; respect their decision not to share information and don’t press. Some questions could include:

o When did you know you were [insert appropriate term here]?

o What was it like growing up?

o How did you know it was the right time to come out?

o What was the coming out process like?

o How can I best support you?

3. Reassure them that disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity has not, and will not, change how you feel about them. Remind them that you still care about and respect them.

4. Normalize offering and asking for pronouns in varied situations. You can act by putting your pronouns in your email signature, in social media bios, on name tags, or by introducing yourself with your name and what pronouns you use. Another good practice is to use more neutral language until you know what pronouns someone uses or how they might identify.

5. Educate yourself on the history of the LGBTQIA+ community. Members of the community are not responsible for teaching you, but many could be eager to share their experiences and help you learn. The LGBTQIA+ community has a long history and knowing about the struggles that were faced can help you better understand current topics and issues.

6. Unlearn historical prejudices. Identify, unpack, and challenge stereotypes and unconscious biases you have been taught over the years. Part of this will come in educating yourself about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, but it is also important to confront your own prejudices—even if it is uncomfortable to do so—and commit yourself to self-growth and learning. Recognize when you make a mistake and be open to learning and improving.

7. Speak out against prejudice, discrimination, and offensive language. Be an advocate for equality whenever you can. If you hear an anti-LGBTQIA+ comment or joke, speak up and explain why such comments are harmful and offensive.

8. Advocate for the most marginalized members of the LGBTQIA+ community. LGBTQIA+ people of color are more likely to be subject to marginalization and oppression on the basis of race. Transgender women of color face blatant discrimination and violence, while Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and transgender women are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic. Be an active advocate for these marginalized voices in the community, while still providing space for LGBTQIA+ people of color to be heard.

9. Embrace the leadership and contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community. LGBTQIA+ people have historically been ignored or subject to ridicule in pop culture and being an Ally means being open to their voices and respecting everyone’s understanding and expression of their identity. Elevate LGBTQIA+ voices by voting for them, buying their art and content, and spotlighting their voices.

10. Most importantly, listen to your LGBTQIA+ friends, family, colleagues, and peers

Guide to being a straight ally

Mark your calendar!

Big picture

Transponder's 10th Anniversary MasQUEERade

Saturday, Oct. 15th, 7-11pm

1685 West 13th Avenue

Eugene, OR

On Saturday, October 15, we are hosting our Annual Gala fundraiser to celebrate one decade of serving the community. The theme for this year’s Gala is MasQUEERade.

We’ll enjoy hor d’oeuvres by Mishjacks Catering, live entertainment by Haus of Blunt, poetry readings, community acknowledgements and awards, and then we’ll dance the night away.

Click here for tickets:

TransPonder is a small grassroots, completely transgender founded and led nonprofit based in Eugene, Oregon providing support, resources, and education for and about the transgender and gender diverse community and our allies. Transponder has worked closely with 4j schools to provide support and education!