Campus Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

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There have been various events around campus to celebrate

For Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, there are cultural celebrations on campus to honor and recognize the Hispanic and Latinx students, faculty and staff.

The celebrations at Marquette include student organization events, open dialogues, and an art exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art.

The Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff occurred Sept. 16 with traditional Mexican performances from Escamilla Entertainment.

Escamilla Entertainment is a company that entertains, enlightens, and inspires audiences of the beauty and diversity of Mexico’s colorful dance traditions. It also educated on the culture’s contribution to the community.

The Marquette University Student Government Speaker Series featured the “In the Heights” and “Hamilton actor” Javier Munoz.

Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity hosted their annual and award-winning Fiesta De Noche on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.

As coordinator of cultural engagement, Tiffany Fulford, advises and support programs for historically underrepresented students.

Specifically, during cultural month celebrations, Fulford coordinates the programs that Marquette University, organizations and students offer.

“It is significant to celebrate Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Culture to raise awareness to the culture and provide opportunities for our Latinx and Hispanic students to feel a sense of belonging,” Fulford said.

Fulford encourages students, faculty, and staff to get more involved in organizations, educational and social events.

“If Latinx and Hispanic students are seeking organization primarily serving or representing their culture, they can attend student organization meetings and possibly become a member.

Fulford said that all students, faculty and/or staff can involved by attending educational and social justice events such as the Campus Ministry, Soup with Substance series.

As director for Hispanic Initiatives and Diversity and Inclusion Educational Programming, Jacqueline Black said that she has many different roles.

“My role spans a wide variety of activities, including chairing the university’s initiative to becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution, facilitating educational programming around issues related to diversity and inclusion for students, faculty and staff, and contributing to campus-wide efforts to become a more diverse, inclusive and equitable environment,” Black said.

Black said that Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate culture and recognize the contributions of Latinx peoples in society.

“It is important to recognize this month with both cultural and educational programs so that our Latinx students and employees see themselves and their heritage affirmed, and so that other stakeholders become more aware of the richness and complexity of Latinx diversity and our collective history, which is not often taught in schools,” Black said.

As director for Hispanic Initiatives, Daly is working to increase diversity and inclusion through the Hispanic-Serving Institution Initiative.

HSI’s goal is to increase Latinx undergraduate enrollment to 25% of the student body and make Marquette a welcoming place for all.

The HSI is accomplishing its goals by engaging the community, having pre-college programs, increasing financial aid, increasing faculty/staff diversity and cultural shifts.

Tara Daly, co-director of the Center for Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies and associate professor for Spanish at Marquette, hopes to make a more inclusive campus for those from underrepresented groups.

“Our work is to connect Marquette with the community of Milwaukee, too, and to help seed conversation on race throughout campus — not just in the College of Arts & Sciences,” Daly said.

Daly said that it is important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month because of the growing Spanish-speaking population at Marquette and it reflects changes in the student body, classrooms, and the community.

“Marquette is just one bridge away (the 6th Street Bridge) from the amazing south side of this city, where generations of immigrants have built thriving businesses, community centers [the United Community Center, for instance], and culture,” Daly said.

Although Milwaukee is racially and ethnically diverse, it is highly segregated. As a result, the south side of Milwaukee is predominantly Hispanic.

Due to Marquette’s proximity to the south side of Milwaukee, the south side is one of the communities that Marquette serves.

To be more inclusive, Marquette created a heritage speaker program for Spanish-speaking students.

“We want to meet all different types of learners in our classes, and so the heritage speaker program not only builds a community for our heritage students but also decolonizes Spanish: That is, we impart the idea that there is not one way to speak the language, but many,” Daly said.

Fulford, Black and Daly work to enhance diversity and inclusion in the campus community for the Hispanic and Latinx communities. Although these efforts are highlighted during Hispanic Heritage Month, Black said that it is just as important throughout the year.

“It is also important to note that we shouldn’t only be focusing on diverse programming during special history or cultural months, but should also be infusing those opportunities for representation, learning, and engagement throughout the year,” Black said.

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at hannah.hernandez@marquette.edu.