Education Secretary Miguel Cardona posted online to tell students that their identity matters, noting his own struggles during his childhood.
Cardona said growing up a lot of teachers called him Michael, instead of Miguel, diminishing his Latino heritage.
“My name is Miguel, but a lot of my teachers called me Michael. In 7th grade I finally had the courage to tell my principal that I’d like to be called by the name that my Latino parents gave me – Miguel, not Michael,” Cardona posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
“To any student that is reading this, your identity matters,” his post said.
According to the Department of Education, Cardona’s grandparents moved to the United States from Puerto Rico in the 1960s. His biography said his bicultural upbringing helped shape his passion for serving students and providing opportunities for their success.
Cardona served as an educator for two decades before being sworn in as Secretary in 2021.
Cardona recently joined with Vice President Harris to highlight the partisan battle taking place in the education system currently and its impact on students of color.
“The work of this commission comes at a critical moment for both our Black and brown students and our educational system at large,” Cardona said while announcing the creation of the President’s Advisory Commission on Advancing Education, Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.
“What we’re seeing is that things once done in the shade are now being done in the sunlight,” he added. “We’re seeing racist attitudes and policy being embedded in our laws and institutions under, oftentimes, the thin veil of so-called race-blindness, meaning injustice and inequity, ignorance and gaslighting.”