BOSTON (WWLP) – The group Latinos for Education gathered to celebrate its fifth anniversary of its annual State of Latino Education event. It was a packed house in the Great Hall of the Boston State House with over 200 people in attendance.

The celebration acknowledged Hispanic Heritage Month and featured former and present lawmakers and honored Latino educators and policymakers. Representative Andy Vargas was the recipient of La Promesa award and former Springfield Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Lydia Martinez received La Lucha Award. Legislators who are in support of the Educator Diversity Act were also honored.

The group’s mission is to increase the representation of Latino leaders in all levels of the education sector.

“We know that when children and families have educators and leaders in their schoolhouses, that share their backgrounds and experiences, they are more connected, they have role models and we believe that is a direct impact on educational outcomes,” said CEO & Found of Latinos for Education Amanda Fernandez.

According to the group, 40 percent of Massachusetts students identify as students of color, but only 12 percent of educators identify as the same.

The event featured speakers that represented Latino students and educators in the state and the progress they have made towards educational equity