The sixth annual Georgetown University Latinx Heritage Month commenced last Friday and features newly expanded programming such as an instructional folklorico dance event, Latinx jeopardy and a pupusa making workshop this year.
The 2019 Latinx Heritage month started Sept. 15 with a kickoff party hosted by La Casa Latina, a residential community for Latinx-identifying students. Other events this upcoming month include a welcome dinner, discussions about anti-blackness within the Latinx community, immigration and the media, a lotería night, a film night and a leadership forum.
This year’s heritage month programming will emphasize intersectionality as one of its themes in discussions of Latinidad, which refers to the various attributes shared by Latin American people and their descendants, according to Ty Padilla (COL ’20), La Casa Latina financial coordinator.
“It is a time to really delve into topics that we normally don’t think about just because in general Latinx identity is painted with a very large brush and sometimes people feel left out of that,” Padilla said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “Latinx Heritage Month is a way for conversations or celebrations of certain cultures that aren’t really highlighted when people generally think of Latinidad.”
The events are all coordinated by the Latinx Leadership Forum, a group of 16 student leaders from different organizations at the university who share a passion for Latinx culture and community. The LLF leaders intend to organize, celebrate and advocate for Latinidad on campus, according to its Facebook page. The LLF started Latinx Heritage Month at Georgetown in 2014 in collaboration with a Provost-run committee and the University President’s Office.
This year, the LLF underwent significant restructuring and adopted a new charter, according to La Casa Latina and the LLF. They are excited about the new opportunities for various campus groups to come together for the month of events, Juan Martinez (SFS ’20), LLF acting chair wrote in an email to The Hoya.
“Being able to bring together so many Latinx organizations to coordinate a month dedicated to our community has been truly empowering,” Martinez wrote. “Particularly after a summer replete with degrading rhetoric and violent actions toward Latinxs in the U.S. and abroad, it feels great coming together and producing a month of celebration and healing for our community.”
The groups represented in the LLF will be represented at the month’s signature Latinx Welcome Back dinner, set for Sept. 20 in the Healey Family Student Center Great Room. The dinner, which was spearheaded by LLF Programming Chair Joshua Marin-Mora (SFS ’21), will support local Latinx-owned community vendors as opposed to more corporate restaurants, according to Carmen Mata (SFS ’20), Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Georgetown LLF representative. The various organizations will each have their own specially decorated table to introduce themselves to students in attendance.
Although BMFG has historically performed solely at the Welcome Back dinner, this year they will additionally teach folklorico dance, a traditional Mexican dance that emphasizes local folk culture, to interested Georgetown community members in a separate event from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Healey Family Student Center, according to Mata.
“A lot of people are interested in folklorico but they don’t necessarily want the commitment of it and so we’ve decided to put on this event just kind of like, ‘Hey, come on, test the skirts out!’” Mata said in an interview with The Hoya.
Hermanas de Georgetown, a student group that strives to support the professional and personal development of its undergraduate members, will host a game of Latinx-themed jeopardy on Oct 3. In addition, the Central American United Students Association will host an Oct. 9 pupusa making workshop, where students will make the Salvadoran flatbread.
Latinx Heritage Month gives BFMG an opportunity to share their culture with the broader community and complete the goals of the dance group’s first members, Mata said.
“It is something fun. It is something simple, not something that is like really heavy, besides the skirts, those are actually really heavy sometimes,” Mata said. “It is just something just that kind of gets a lot of people to dance — this is just a very specific kind of dance.”
Although the events are tailored to the Latinx community on campus, all Georgetown students are welcome and encouraged to attend the programming, Padilla said.
“Our events are geared toward people who are of the identity but we also don’t want to be just limited to that,” Padilla said. “I would encourage anyone who is even remotely interested to attend one of the events to just see what’s out there.”