Latinx Heritage Month events explain, celebrate


By Dezarae Churchill

While we recover from the pandemic, public celebrations are still limited. But our student government still created an impressive itinerary to help celebrate Latinx Heritage Month.

Latinx Heritage is celebrated between Sept.15 and Oct. 15. The mid-month spread is to honor the anniversaries of independence of several Latin countries that acquired their freedom between the months of September and October.

Some events are still in store. On Oct. 7, the Latin Student Union will be hosting movie night. “El Norte,”a film by Gregory Nava, will be shown on Main Lawn at 7:30, followed by discussion.

On Oct. 4, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion held the web discussion “What’s in a name?”

Leah Young, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at WPU, said that while “Hispanic” is more identified with Spain, the term “Latin” includes more countries and cultures.

“Latino/Latina are more gender specific, while Latinx is non binary,” Young said. “It’s important to know what the labels mean and when to use them.”

The conversation dove into the labels within the Latinx community, what they mean, and how others can understand how someone identifies. Marcela Torres Cervantes, assistant director at the Carolina Latinx Center, led the discussion.

On Monday, Sept. 27, two events took place on campus. The first was “Un Lápiz A La Vez”, which translates to “One pencil at a time.” A service project to compile kits from the school supply drive for the use of local communities, it was organized by the Office of Student Involvement with the assistance of Tanya Lopez from the El Centro Organization.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion also hosted the web discussion “Our Culture Is Not A Costume,” led by Young with students Kiera Williams and Jasanee Killins.

The conversation highlighted the detrimental effects of cultural appropriation, defined by as “the adoption, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers from subcultures or minority communities into mainstream culture by people with a relatively privileged status.”

The speakers focused on two consequences of appropriation. Initially, they said, it trivializes violent historical oppression. Then, it allows dominant culture to take things from marginalized people while expressing prejudice concurrently.

“We want your culture, but not your people,” said Williams.