Writing for Civic Engagement Workshop


Taller de Escritura para Participación Cívica


LRJC meeting prior to the recording of the interviews

Welcome to the LRJC Writing for Civic Engagement Workshop!

This workshop aims to develop the writing skills and civic agency of Latinx youth in Baltimore, Maryland. In each module, participants will listen to a story by a local Latinx community leader, read a news story about Latinx people in Maryland, engage in collective reflection, and write a narrative essay.

The workshop was developed in partnership with a team of faculty and students of the UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab in 2023: Brandon Price, Mary Rose Khamfong, Violeta Brito, and Felipe Filomeno. LRJC and the UMBC team thank Mónica Guerrero Vázquez, Joe Voegel, and Ricardo Ortiz for serving as storytellers. They are also thankful for the support provided by UMBC. 

Module 1: Empowerment Through Education

In this module, you will reflect on the pursuit of education as a challenging yet empowering journey. You will listen to the story of Mónica Guerrero Vázquez, an Ecuadorian migrant and academic high achiever. From a low-income background, she eventually earned five degrees and became the leader of a non-profit organization. You will also read a companion news article that shows Latinx high school students with similar academic ambitions. 

Interview (Mónica Guerrero Vázquez)


News Article (The Baltimore Sun)

Daring Students to Reach Higher: Course Makes College a Reality for Latino Youth

A workshop sponsored by the Hispanic College Fund inspires young Latinx high schoolers in Maryland to reach further heights in education.


Discussion Questions

Narrative Essay Prompt

Reflecting on Mónica's journey to academic success and leadership alongside the news article about the Maryland Hispanic Symposium, write the story about a turning point in your education. For instance, you may have started school in the United States, moved from one school to another, joined a student club, or participated in an afterschool program. What challenges did you face? What opportunities were there for you? Who supported you? Who did you support? How will that experience inform your future engagement with education? 

Module 2: Youth Tackling Social Issues

In this module, you will consider how Latinx youth can play an active role in solving social problems. You will listen to the story of Joe Vogel, who was born in Uruguay and eventually became one of the first members of Generation Z to be elected to the Maryland state legislature. You will also read a companion news article in which a local media outlet interviews Joe. In our interview, Joe encourages youth to participate in our collective response to urgent challenges.

Interview (Joe Vogel)


News Article (The Baltimore Banner)

 Q&A: Joe Vogel

An immigrant from Uruguay, he became one of the first members of Gen Z elected to the Maryland State Legislature.


Discussion Questions

Narrative Essay Prompt

Joe felt compelled to act in the face of challenging circumstances affecting the community. Write a story about an event when you or people in your community mobilized to address a social problem. What did you learn from that event that can inform your future civic engagement? 

Module 3: Collaborating Across Differences

In this module, you will reflect on how diverse groups can collaborate to improve social conditions. You will listen to the story of Ricardo Ortiz, a journalist who immigrated from Mexico and also identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. In his interview, Ricardo discusses the concept of the third gender in indigenous cultures and argues that understanding the history of your ancestors is necessary for a positive self-identity. You will also read a companion news article about a local government in Maryland trying to build bridges with historically marginalized groups.

Interview (Ricardo Ortiz)


News Article (Baltimore Fishbowl)

Howard County creates LGBTQIA+ and Latina commissions

The county executive aims to protect the civil rights of marginalized groups.


Discussion Questions

Narrative Essay Prompt

Ricardo’s mother took him to protests when he was very young. The media portrayed those protests in a negative light, which motivated Ricardo to be a journalist who writes honest stories about the community. Write a story about an event in your community that challenges common stereotypes and misrepresentations of the community.