The Unity Council’s Latino Men & Boys (LMB) Ceremonia is the end-of-school-year celebration for more than 200 young men from 10 Oakland schools, their families, and mentors. During the Ceremonia, the Latino Men and Boys participants are recognized for their commitment to academic achievements and leadership.
“Ceremonia is important to LMB participants because it marks the end of a yearlong process,” said Erik Vargas, High School, and College Advisor. “Ceremonia is sort of a rite of passage for students, a rite of passage into being a Joven Noble. The goal is that after a year of being part of the program, participants will adopt the four values of LMB (Keep Your Word; Take Responsibility for Your Actions; Be a Positive Example; Don’t Bring Harm to Others), and choose to instill them in their personal lives. Ceremonia is a celebration for them to be proud of their hard work.”
This year, one LMB participant from each school had the opportunity to say gracias to their mentors and family on behalf of the rest of their classmates. Each student talked about the struggles and hardship Latino Oakland youth encounter in their daily lives. Many LMB students moved the audience to tears when they talked about the current political climate and stated their determination to resist an administration that targets them and their families.
But the best part of the evening, according to Erik Vargas, High School, and College Advisor, “was seeing students enjoy their time with family and friends; this is always the most moving/rewarding part of Ceremonia,”
The Latino Men and Boys (LMB) Program is a school-based, culturally-rooted program located in 10 schools in Oakland Unified School District. The LMB program works with young men (ages 12-20) and their families to improve outcomes in health, education, behavior, family interaction, and career planning. Click here to see a list of LMB schools.