Baruch College’s Latin American Student Organization hosted an event to make students aware of Latinx Heritage Month’s arrival and to celebrate the many cultures and nations encompassed within Latin America. The event kicked off the start of Latinx Heritage Month and took place on the second-floor lobby on Sept. 6.
At the event, the club members and their adviser, Crystal Tejada, served traditional Latin American foods, while Spanish music blasted through speakers behind the club’s setup. This year’s theme was “One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”
“Latinx Heritage Month is basically just a celebration of the diversity of Latinx people, the culture, the traditions, just everything that encompasses Latinx people,” said Tejada, the assistant director of student activities. “It can range from dancing, food, the discussions we need to have.”
They served empanadas and played music from different Latin countries such as salsa, bachata and reggaeton to reflect the many cultures and people who make up Latin America. Although each country has its own distinct culture, when people from these different countries immigrate to the United States, they bring their culture with them and create a community. Due to this, many people are exposed to the various music, food and culture that makes up Latin America.
Additionally, the month’s name was changed to Latinx from Latin to be more inclusive toward people in the transgender and genderqueer communities.
Members of the club exude passion for their cultures and family histories, which contributed to not only the high energy of the event, but also to the need for the event and monthlong celebration in the first place.
According to Jessica Torres, president of LASO, Latinx Heritage Month is important, among many other reasons, because it helps keep Latin cultures and traditions alive in the United States.
“To us, what [this year’s theme] means is that even though we come to this country, the United States, very different from our own countries back home, we hold true to this one endless voice, to continue our traditions, to never let them go,” she said.
“We try to keep our traditions as true as possible to keep a piece of us from our home in this foreign country that we grow to love.”
In a city as diverse as New York, Latinx Heritage Month is especially important at Baruch, where 17 percent of all enrolled students are Latino, as of the 2017 fall semester, according to the college’s website.
“This month is to celebrate our culture, and especially for me to celebrate the culture that I already had around me because I’m an immigrant, I came from the Dominican Republic and it’s been hard for me not to be around my people and around my traditions and the things that I care about,” said Daniela Toribio, a sophomore. “This month is an opportunity for me to feel connected to my roots and enjoy those things that I really, really love.”
Additionally, the Latinx Heritage Month kickoff event was enjoyed by non-club members as well, including students who are and are not of Latinx origin.
“On a first impression [of the event], I like the music a lot, and it was like a very efficient kind of line, so to speak,” said freshman Emily Chavez, who is of Ecuadorian descent. “To me, Latin Heritage Month is basically celebrating and embracing who you are, and I guess you could kind of consider the fact that today people are often discriminated [against] so this is kind of a time where it’s like ‘Discrimination aside, I’m very proud of who I am.’”