Students in the new senior English elective and BCIL Distinguished Course, "Latinx in Los Angeles," were fortunate to welcome two amazing alumni guest speakers this week. Mr. Adan Acevedo ’04 and Mrs. Beth Caldwell ’95.
Hosted in the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Hub, both speakers delivered thoughtful and illuminating talks. Mr. Acevedo discussed the US-El Salvador relationship from a historical perspective, the role of Salvadoran communities in Los Angeles, and his own family's experience. Recounting his journey from the Lennox community of Los Angeles to Brentwood School to Harvard, the founding member of Brentwood's LSA connected with the students through thought-provoking facts and stories aimed to dispel myths and preconceptions. The articles that students read ahead of his visit helped, in his words, “to find the juxtaposition of actions and beliefs fascinating as students engage some defining features of many administrations in US-El Salvador relations.”
The second speaker was equally enlightening. Author and law professor Beth Caldwell talked about her latest book, Deported Americans, to highlight the plight of a largely forgotten and hidden side of the immigration issue. The class listened to her descriptions of a broken system that she fought against as a public defender with a mixture of fascination and disbelief. Depicting vividly the harrowing truths that many Americans, undocumented and otherwise, face daily here and across the border, Mrs. Caldwell’s deep empathy and compassion prompted several students to thank her for her work and for sharing her optimistic view that someday society will acknowledge and correct such injustices.
Eloquent and inspiring, both Mrs. Caldwell and Mr. Acevedo reminded students that Eagles do indeed go out into the world and make a difference.