From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, people around the world celebrate the contributions and influence Hispanic Americans have brought to the history, culture and achievements of America in what is called Latino Heritage Month.
The celebration starts on Sept. 15 because it’s the anniversary of the Cry of Dolores, the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence. The New Spain Colony, which included Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, gained independence in 1821. This festival was originally a week-long celebration, however former President George H. W. Bush proclaimed it as a month-long celebration in 1989.
The Office of Multicultural and Student Services (OMSS) kicked off the month by hosting a Latino student and faculty meet and greet, which allowed students to network with staff who look like them, have similar experiences and backgrounds.
“Our goal was for students to see Latino representation on campus and make connections…” said Mackenzie Lovering, the graduate assistant for OMSS. “It’s nice for them to see that representation.”
Lovering explained that OMSS aims to have events that are both educational and fun so that more students can attend the events without feeling like they’re in a lecture hall class.
On Sept. 22, OMSS hosted a Salsa 101 event that taught students basic salsa moves from salsa instructor, Felix Castillo. The event started off with fun facts about where salsa originated from and then moved straight into the lessons.
Although it’s Latino Heritage Month, OMSS emphasizes that all students from all backgrounds are welcomed. Latino American Student Organization (LASO) is a group part of OMSS and Lovering encourages students to attend their events as well.
“The best way to celebrate Latino Heritage Month is to educate yourself,” said Lovering. “Find what gaps you have in your own knowledge and understand, and fill those gaps.”
Prior to being a GA, Lovering was an undergrad student for four years and she has witnessed how Latino students are celebrated on campus.
“This is my first year actually implementing and planning events for Latino Heritage Month…” said Lovering. “And, overall, I think campus has improved on how they celebrate these types of months.”
OMSS will continue celebrating this month by playing bingo with prizes on Oct. 6.
Photo Credit: Luis Chavez