LSU celebrates Latinx Heritage Month with student body

By Maegan White

Elm Staff Writer

Every year in September and October, faculty, staff, and students gather to celebrate Latinx Heritage month through four weeks of events. This year’s focus is around education, celebration through art, and fun.

Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of  Black Studies Minor Dr. Elena Deanda-Camacho is one of the lead organizers for this month and she will be doing a presentation on her recently published book, “Offensive to Pious Ears,” in Litrenta Lecture Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 20. 

She said that this year’s celebration especially has been a collective effort from faculty, staff, and students to create different opportunities for students to learn and celebrate their culture and heritage. 

She is most excited about the way that many of the planned events teach through art like music, dance, and food.

One of Dr. Deanda-Camacho’s biggest goals for the year is to educate the Washington College community on the unique and diverse Latinx community on campus. 

“We hope to educate students on the multidimensional approach to something that is so unique – there is not just one Latinx identity,” Dr. Deanda-Camacho said. “We want students to own their amazing heritage and to be proud of who they are, where they come from, and where their parents are from. For the students who are not Latinx, we hope [they] see that part of their history cannot exist without Latin America. We want all students to see that connection.”

According to Dr. Deanda-Camacho, the Latinx Student Union has taken the reins this year in the planning and organizing of many events. LSU’s executive board is composed of President senior Hilary Contreras-Cruz, Vice President junior Tiana Morel, Secretary junior Elcy Canales Escobar, Treasurer junior Jackie Osorio-Bravo, and Social Media Chair senior Mujidar Oladejo. 

Contreras-Cruz and the rest of the executive board have been planning different fun and educational events that occur every other Thursday.

“One of our goals is to have a safe space for Latinx students on campus and show everyone what the Latinx community is like,” Contreras-Cruz said. “We want to raise awareness for those Latinx communities around us and celebrate the many Latin American countries that are celebrating their independence this month.”

LSU’s executive board is most excited for their event “Mi Tierra: Learn About Latin American Countries,” which according to Contreras-Cruz, is an event dedicated to celebrating the many different independence days that Latin American countries are celebrating this month. 

The event was postponed due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases between Sept. 12 and 16 but will be rescheduled for a later date. 

In an email sent to the campus community by Dr. Deanda-Camacho on September 5, a list of events was provided. The remaining events for the semester are Dance Class: Bachata, Cumbia, Salsa on Sept. 22, and “Race, Politicas, and Latinx Identity in the US” on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall,.

Other events also include Loteria Night on Oct. 6, “Heritage Speakers: An Introduction to Who, Where, and Why” on Oct. 14, Noche De Karaoke on Oct. 20, and Day of the Dead on Nov. 1st at 5:30 p.m. in the Egg.

These events are open to the entire campus and are meant to spark curiosity to learn more about the many layers of Latinx culture. Dr. Deanda-Camacho and the LSU are hoping to bring together all students who are curious and interested to learn and celebrate the different cultures and languages of Latin America. 

Graphic courtesy of Latinx Student Union

Photo Caption: Latinx Student Union plans to reschedule “Mi Tierra” and all events cancelled due to COVID-19 are postponed.

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