Mariachi band, nachos and the flags of Hispanic countries filled the Hindsman Bell Tower on Sept. 15 for the Hispanic Heritage Month kick-off.
The Department of Diversity and Inclusion hosted this event in conjunction with the Hispanic Student Association. Elijah Moreno, graduate assistant for DDI, introduced the importance of the event and then introduced three speakers who explained why they celebrate this month.
“I am not the first person in my family to go to college and it makes me proud to be able to say that,” Jasmine Alonso, a nursing major from North Little Rock and first speaker, said.
The second speaker Laura Torres, a Spanish education major from Russellville, spoke on her life and the relevance of her Hispanic culture and why she celebrates it as the first in her family to go to college. Armando Gutierrez, third speaker and leader of the mariachi band, spoke how he was proud to be a part of his band that was from different countries (including one person who was not of Hispanic descendant).
After the speeches, the band played so participants could enjoy hearing the sounds of mariachi while La Huerta provided food (more than just nachos) for the event. During the event, students had access to information about the Hispanic Student Association, League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. There was also an information wall that showed the adversity the Hispanic culture went through during the last 100 years. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the Hispanic culture, history and people to gain a better understanding of what it means to be Hispanic.
“We wanted to make sure our Hispanic students on campus know they have a place and they know that we appreciate their culture,” Fabi Monte, graduate student for DDI, said. “They should not let their past, their culture die.”
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 thru Oct. 15 “because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.” This is according to the Hispanic Heritage website founded by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
For more information, go online to hispanicheritagemonth.gov.