Group honors Latino culture

Elizabeth Giorgi

Delicious churros, sweaty tango lessons and saucy Latino music attract students to La Raza Student Cultural Center to celebrate Latino Heritage Month.

Many students are taking advantage of La Raza Student Cultural Center’s celebration of Latino Heritage Month. The group has spent September and October recognizing cultural pieces of the Latino heritage.

Twins games in celebration of baseball’s beginning in the Dominican Republic, jewelry-making in recognition of Ecuador and a variety of traditional Latino foods are helping La Raza pay tribute to Latino heritage.

The office of La Raza is bright and filled with colors and smells of all the activities it is hosting. As of Sept. 12, the group has hosted an array of activities; one nearly every day.

Spanish and elementary education junior Vanessa San Jose said thus far most of the activities have gone as planned and there has been involvement from the student body and the community.

San Jose said the largest turnout so far was Monday. “(El Grito) is the celebration of Mexico’s independence,” she said. “El Grito had the largest attendance because of the community turnout.”

San Jose said the group filled the event with many different types of dance performances and poetry readings. Area high school students also attended, including one group of high school students who performed a traditional dance.

San Jose said that because it is the beginning of the school year, the group has faced some difficulty with attendance and organization.

However, La Raza board member Megan Wettstaedt said the center expected some difficulty and thought the events have been doing well considering the time of year.

“(Latino Heritage Month) has been successful,” she said. “We have had people come to each of our events.”

University junior Sylvia González said, “A lot of the events didn’t get as much of a turnout because we didn’t do much advertising.”

However, González said students can look for signs advertising some of the events in October.

The group is showing a documentary concerning the Bolivian Revolution. Political science instructor August Nimtz Jr. will also be speaking on the relations between the United States and Cuba.

The theme of Latino Heritage Month is based on highlighting one country a day, said journalism junior Erica Torres. Though a lot of the events involve food and dancing, there are also events scheduled that include speakers and documentaries to educate about the history of Latino heritage.

The center’s goal is to highlight the different unique qualities concerning the Chicano and Latino communities, Torres said.

“Although we are all Latinos, we still come from so many different countries and there are so many different things from each country that contribute to our culture as a whole,” she said, “and I think it is very important (to recognize).”