Oklahoma delegate Felisa Hilbert was born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, moving to the U.S. nearly 24 years ago after marrying her husband Dan in Veracruz. The two have three bilingual children. Hilbert has always taken an active role in the community, with minority groups, and in her children’s schools, believing that if you educate the parents you also educate the children.
Hilbert believes that when parents are involved in schools and also value education their children have more pride and success. Her passion is to serve students and empower parents (especially those from different backgrounds and cultures) to be advocates for their kids’ education. She has been a volunteer for 35 years and an educator committed to teaching all the values and richness of cultural diversity in our schools.
Several years ago Hilbert noticed that minority parents in her local schools were seldom seen in school activities, PTA meetings, or parent teacher conferences. She presented the idea of a “Multicultural Literacy Night” at the school with minority parents acting as teachers. The group presented food, music, and books in different languages, tri-fold posters with information, etc. What started as a small event at a school has grown into a Multicultural Diversity Festival now held at the Tulsa Technology center. This year, 30 countries presented, 10 groups entertained, 10 community resources offered their services and 1,126 guest attended.
Hilbert worked very hard to organize a community PTA that reflected the faces of her community in which everyone could feel welcomed and accepted. In August 2008, International Cultures for Education PTA (ICE PTA) was created with only 15 members representing 5 continents. The membership has now reached more than 100 members.