UA faculty, staff and students are celebrating Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month, which spans Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, in big and small ways.
The Hispanic-Latino Association is partnering with University Programs, the Interfraternity Council and the Intercultural Diversity Center to host a Kickoff Program on Sept. 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. on the Student Center lawn.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air for us to have events of this size,” said HLA President Marcella Martinez. “It will be a celebration and a sharing of our culture.”
The HLA is an organization for students who identify as Hispanic or Latino or anyone who enjoys the culture and wants to learn more about it. Its membership is steadily growing.
“When I first came to UA, I had no idea HLA was a thing,” said Martinez. “Of course, COVID slowed some activities, but I wanted to pick it back up this past January,” Martinez said, adding that since then they’ve grown from five people to 300. “That just shows the need for a group like this is clearly there.”
Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15 because of its significance in Latin American history. That date is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and 18, respectively.
Other events planned include a virtual conversation with Emmy-nominated voting rights activist Maria Teresa Kumar, a showing of the film “Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado,” the EveryWoman Book Club discussing “Mexican Gothic” and more.
Angel Narvaez-Lugo, president of the LatinX Faculty Staff Association said events like these are important in strengthening the campus community. The LFSA and HLA often work together, and encourage all faculty, staff and students to be involved, he added.
“Our Hispanic students know they have a faculty or staff member they can come to, and we love seeing our students thrive,” said Narvaez-Lugo. “But everyone is welcome in these organizations. It just creates that allyship that we all need.”
“We welcome all allies and anyone who wants to learn more about our culture,” added Martinez. “Events where we can share and learn about each other’s cultures show minority groups that the UA community values them. When we can celebrate our heritage and share that with others, that’s what makes us UA.”
Visit the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website for more information about these and other DEI planned events.
Jennifer Brady, UA Strategic Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org