Latinx Heritage Month kicked off at Baruch College with food, fun and games on Sept. 7 in the Newman Vertical Campus second floor lobby. A large crowd of students gathered in the area to dance to Latinx music, and take photos in a photo booth, among other activities. Members from the Association of Latino Professionals for America, the Dominican Students Association, the Ecuadorian Club and Latin American Student Organization were present to answer questions, recruit members and dish out food.
Tatiana Betancur, the co-chair of LHM, calls the month “a really big community effort,” for Latinx students at Baruch.
She noted that most of the event’s committee members have leadership roles in Latinx clubs on campus.
Later in the day, students were able to compete in a “Family Feud” event where different organizations on campus formed teams and answered trivia.
“What I want [students] to get is to understand the richness of the culture, to see that there’s a lot of intricacies, there’s a lot of different things to learn. It’s not just about dancing to a specific type of music, it’s not about speaking a certain language, but we have a huge range of people in the culture and things that we do and we just want to showcase that to the community,” said Crystal Tejada, Assistant Director of Student Activities, about the month. “Also, what I really loved about today was that people from other cultures that were non-Latinx participated in our opening ceremony—they were dancing, they were playing our games.”
LHM was referred to as “Latino Heritage Month” in previous years. Changing “Latino” to “Latinx” was a decision that Betancur said is “keeping up with the times,” as the LHM committee wanted “to make everyone feel included and not an outcast.”
Other highlights of the month will include “Mocktails & Paint” on Sept. 12, during which Baruch professor Miguel Trellis will educate students about Latinx history over “mocktails.” Sept. 14 will see “Deconstructing Racism in Latino Culture with Shirley de Pena and Ramon Garcia,” while Oct. 3 will have the “Nuestra Belleza Baruch” pageant showcase performers representing different Latinx countries.
Bentacur spoke to the importance of LHM, and why it matters, especially to Baruch students.
“Being active in school is important because it opens you to the different opportunities that you didn’t know were there. So we want to get those students who feel comfortable in the Latinx community and they know they have a voice [at Baruch] and that they can find out about the different opportunities that we have here,” she said.
“So I think it’s just important to make our voice heard so that other students feel that they have a place here in Baruch. It’s not just a commuter school; people care about each other here.”