Latinx Heritage Month has just concluded on Albion’s campus. Latinx Heritage Month, officially known as Hispanic Heritage Month, is a nationally recognized month by the United States. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, people in the US recognize and celebrate Latinx and Hispanic cultures and their contributions to the United States.
This too holds true for Albion College and its students, as campus organizations also work to place special emphasis upon the celebration of Latinx culture. This year, as it has in the past, the college hosted a series of events in honor of Latinx Heritage Month. The events were sponsored by The Organization for Latinx Awareness (OLA), Union Board and the Office of Community Living.
OLA kicked off Latinx Heritage Month on Sept. 15 by offering Latinx culture information tables in the Kellogg Center. The tabling was meant to spread awareness to students, faculty and staff about Latin Heritage Month and Independence Day celebrations.
To some, the tabling event was an eye-opening experience.
“I attended the panel, and I thought the students did a really good job,” said Jennifer Yawson, director for Campus Life. “I thought it was really informative and eye opening to the experiences that our Latinx students have in coming to Albion in regards to their experiences fitting in, feeling accepted and feeling as though they belong here.”
A number of other Latinx Heritage Month events also took place on campus.
On Sept. 29, OLA sponsored the showing of a documentary entitled, “Latino Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype.” The viewing was meant to educate attendees about challenges that face those in the Latinx community, such as issues of negative stereotypes and under-representation in the media.
“I thought the documentary tackled many stereotypes about our community,” said Karina Muñoz, Dallas first-year and the vice president of OLA, via electronic communication.
OLA and Union Board hosted Albion’s annual Salsa Night on Oct. 1. Each year, Salsa Night features a live band, food specific to Latin American countries and provides students with an opportunity to learn how to dance salsa. Salsa Night is often highly anticipated by Albion students. This year was no different.
“At Salsa night, we had an over 150 person turn-out and people were able to dance the night away,” said Munzos, via electronic communication. “The music ranged from Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, and even Bacata.”
In addition to Salsa Night, OLA, Union Board and the Office of Community Living hosted a traditional Loteria bingo night and Fiesta de Independencia.
“The purpose of Loteria bingo night is to be fun and educational in the way that it allows students to learn different parts of culture through different words, symbols and pictures,” said Yawson.
Latinx Heritage Month concluded with a Fiesta de Independencia celebration in the Kellogg Center on Oct. 14. The event was a highlight of Latinx Heritage Month for Munoz.
“I liked this event because it was my first La fiesta,” said Munoz, via electronic communication. “It’s important to celebrate each country and their independence from Spain and Portugal. At the event we saw different types of food ranging from Puerto Rican, Mexican, Chilean, and Cuban. We also had the chance to have our own OLA members making info boards that reflected where they were from.”
Fiesta de Independencia also featured live music with performers who encouraged attendees to dance along.
“We were able to see live performances from both Mariachi and Samba from Chicago,” said Munoz, via electronic communication. “Both groups had people dancing on their feet and it was truly exciting to see everyone enjoy our culture.”