Welcome Back & Celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

September 14, 2023

Dear CSSW Community,

First and foremost, we would like to extend a warm welcome back to our incredible faculty, staff and students. And, to our new students, we are so happy to have you here. As we begin to settle into the new academic year, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge September 15th as the start of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. It is during this time that we observe the cultural influence and myriad contributions of the Hispanic and Latinx communities in the U.S. The theme for 2023 is “Prosperity, Power and Progress”, highlighting and celebrating the undeniable impact of Hispanic/Latinx folks within our social, political, and economic spheres throughout history.

To honor Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, we are highlighting the work of Erica P. Sandoval, LCSW-SIFI, author of Latinx/e in Social Work. This book encompasses a collection of personal stories that amplify the voices of Latinx social workers and share both challenges and inspirations within the field. Featured alongside the other remarkable social workers in Sandoval’s book is our esteemed alum, Dianne Morales. After completing her degree at CSSW, Dianne found herself immersed in work ranging from housing to early childhood education to substance use disorders. With years of experience in the field, she eventually served as CEO of  Phipps Neighborhoods, an affordable housing nonprofit in the Bronx, and went on to become a candidate in the 2021 NYC Democratic mayoral primary. You can read more about Dianne here.

We are continuously inspired by our Hispanic/Latinx community here at CSSW, and always have more to learn. Social workers are profoundly aware of the ways in which unjust policies and practices disproportionately affect not only access to necessary care, but bring us further from establishing community. The work does not stop after this month; Sandoval’s work centers on the idea of taking up space, and nurturing already existing spaces that are safe for folks to express themselves and exist authentically. In order for “Prosperity, Power and Progress” to flourish within Hispanic/Latinx communities, we must continue to create and support spaces that allow individuals to thrive and focus on their passions, uninhibited by societal barriers that further perpetuate marginalization.

It is crucial to invest our time and energy into the work of Hispanic/Latinx mental health practitioners, policymakers, advocates and social workers, and center their narratives. Over the next month, let us continue to call awareness to the many injustices that still need to be addressed, while also ensuring that our Hispanic/Latinx communities feel seen, heard, and valued.


In community,


Melissa Begg

Dean & Professor


Karma Lowe

Senior Associate Dean for DEI, Enrollment & Community Engagement