Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off at Marquette

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Photo by Keifer Russell

Cultural Dancers show their moves in the AMU.

Members of Milwaukee’s Dance Academy of Mexico lit up the second floor of the Alumni Memorial Union in brightly colored dresses, traditional clothing and festive music as students stopped by to enjoy food from Get It While It’s Hot Tamale last Friday.

The kick-off event was hosted by the Center for Engagement and Inclusion in celebration of Hispanic History Month and Mexican Independence Day — the first of multiple cultural festivities happening at Marquette this month.

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in recognition of Hispanic American culture, history and influence in the United States.

“To me, this month means embracing the difference and all that hardship that our ancestors have gone through for us to be here today,” Stephanie Gutierrez, a junior in the College of Business Administration and president of the Latin American Student Organization on campus, said. “It means simply being proud of your culture and embracing that.”

While the group primarily focuses on Latin American and Hispanic cultural events, she said one of her goals for LASO this year is to reach students of different backgrounds on campus.

Ana Luci Gonzalez-Nunez, a senior in the College of Communication and a communications intern with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Marquette, promotes campus events to help students stay up to date with cultural-related things. She said she also helps to cover the events and share them on social media. 

“I am looking forward to Fiesta de Noche,” Gonzalez-Nunez said. “It is an event that I have gone to every year since I started college. The food is always delicious and is a nice way to feel connected on campus.” 

Fiesta de Noche is hosted by the Gamma Beta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta with free food, cultural performances and a live DJ. The event will take place on the Ray and Kay Eckstein Commons lawn from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 24.

“As a person of color and an immigrant, Hispanic Heritage Month holds great sentimental value,” Gonzalez-Nunez said. “I am proud to be Hispanic/Latinx, and being able to celebrate that in what has become my hometown is beautiful. As Marquette aims to be an HSI, it must harvest an inclusive and accepting environment on campus.” 

She said she feels that cultural celebrations and events like these contribute to cultivating an inclusive campus.

Noche de Herencia Hispana was also hosted last Saturday by the Latin American Student Organization and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Students met at the Engineering Hall and walked down to Valley Fields to support the men’s soccer game against Yale. 

Members of Latino Arts Incorporated will also be coming to speak at next week’s Soup with Substance, a discussion-based event with soup and bread, Sept. 28. The event is hosted by Campus Ministry and will be held in the AMU 227.

“Seeing a lot of people wanting to get involved with LASO makes me hopeful that (the organization) will continue to grow,” Gutierrez said. “One thing one of my e-board members said is ‘We are not here for ourselves, we are here for them’ … That stuck out to me, and I was like ‘You’re right,’ I am here to meet the needs of the people.”

This story was written by Skyler Chun. She can be reached at [email protected]