Photo by Matthew Claybrook
The Trinity community is currently in the middle of a four-week celebration of National Latinx Heritage Month. Multiple organizations and departments have put together 10 events of all kinds to celebrate the whole duration of Latinx Heritage Month this year for the first time at Trinity.
While there have been events related to the month in past years, there has been no formal celebration of the month itself. Last year, author Ana Castillo was brought by the Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) program and the Trinity University Latino Association (TULA). In the last two years, TULA has held a Latinx Cuisine day.
National Latinx Heritage Month began on Sept. 15 and ends on Oct. 15. TULA kicked off the month of celebration with Latinx Cuisine Day on Sept. 16, this time with more food and attendees than the previous two years.
“It’s an event to celebrate with food because everyone loves food. It’s a communicative tool that everyone can relate to,” said senior Abigail Torres, president of TULA. “We usually cook it, but this year, because we wanted to make it bigger, we catered in. We had much more food to offer this year.”
The MAS program and Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC) have activities throughout the month, too. This is the first time TDC has held an event for Latinx Heritage Month, hosting a Latinx Poet Showcase this past Tuesday, Oct. 1.
“We have about four or five different poets from San Antonio. They’re local, and they identify as Latinx. They’re going to presenting their work with us, and I think it’s going to be a really special event to build that community and to share culture and learn more about the Latinx culture and their heritage,” said senior Manveena Singh, president of TDC.
Thomás Peña, sophomore Outreach Chair for TULA, believes that the showcase offered something for everyone.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the Latinx Poet Showcase! As someone who is originally from the Rio Grande Valley, I was able to relate to the perspectives and poems regarding the borderlands and the dualistic identity many people from the RGV feel. Furthermore, the atmosphere of the entire night was very delightful and warm. Because a vast majority of the poetry focused around the idea of Latinidad, which is centered around family, everyone was able to relate to some aspects of each poem despite possibly not being Latino/a/x,” Peña wrote in an email interview.
The MAS program isn’t holding any of their own events but instead are supporting TULA with their plans. Both the MAS program and TDC have helped support TULA by organizing the closing event of the month, Viva Las Americas.
“We’re collaborating and supporting TULA in putting on their Vivas Las Americas event in Laurie, which is TULA’s first time doing a really big Laurie event, so we want to make sure that they’re prepped and have the support they need in order to really be successful in that event,” Singh said.
Events celebrating this month have been held that Trinity before, but this is the first year there has been initial coordination and organizing between these groups.
“A lot of the time when things happen on campus its a little thing here or there but only a few people know about it. This is the first time that this has been planned,” Singh said. “There are a lot of different organizations and communities coming together to pull this off and build community through this programming and I think it’s going to be amazing.”
Torres thinks that it’s about time that everyone has gotten organized.
“I feel sad that we just started to get everything organized because we should have been doing this a long time ago. The Latino community is one of the biggest communities here on the Trinity campus and in San Antonio, so I feel like we need that moment to be recognized, especially in this month. So, I’m really glad that we have all these events going on with DIO, with MAS, with TULA,” Torres said.
Torres appreciates that the work can be distributed beyond only TULA members.
“Trying to celebrate a whole month dedicated to the Latinx culture is hard to do for one organization alone. There’s a lot of ideas presented but not enough time/people/funds to make them work as well as we wanted them to,” Torres wrote in a followup email. “It’s also extremely difficult to plan seeing as Latinx Heritage Month starts so early in the academic school year which is why planning ahead in the Spring helped with this year’s calendar. This year with TDC, MAS and TULA coordinating the celebration of Latinx Heritage Month allowed it to receive the recognition it deserves by the many great events organized by different organizations.”
Elseke Membreno-Zenteno, the program associate for MAS and the student advisor for TULA, agrees with Torres that this is a moment for the Latinx community to feel recognized.
“In the four years I’ve been here I’ve seen more students of color choose Trinity, but I know for a fact that there’s still missing their space or that feeling of belonging. I think things like this, even though it’s just one month, I think in that one month it might give them ideas of other spaces they can have or things they can do,” Membreno-Zenteno said.
Flash Back Friday: Latinx Heritage Edition will be held in the DIO on Friday, Oct. 4, at 1 p.m. Viva Las Americas, the closing event of Latinx Heritage Month, will be held on Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. in Laurie Auditorium.
| Class of 2021 | Majors: Urban Studies |