"Just showing our culture": Latino/a students constructing counter-stories through Baile Folklórico

Latino/as represent the majority of students enrolled in K-12 education in California, yet they attend schools where the teaching population and curriculum choices do not reflect their culture. This study uses ethnographic methods to explore the experiences of 15 Latino/a students from ages 13 through 22 who participate in a Mexican folk dance group outside of school. Data from interviews and focus group sessions was coded through the theory of Community Cultural Wealth (Yosso, 2005) to determine how participants make sense of their involvement within this group and at school. The findings illustrate the impact of participation in cultural activity on students’ recognition of cultural strengths, awareness of racism and a desire to create a counter narrative that promotes pride in their culture. These findings support recommendations for teacher training and curriculum development that will bolster an understanding of the assets Latino/a students bring and the importance of cultural activity to support equitable outcomes within and beyond the K-12 school system.