Throughout September and October, the Trinity community honors Latinx culture and community with a lineup of events for Latinx Heritage Month. This is the first year that the university has officially held a program honoring the occasion.
“Last fall, in 2016, we had the honor to welcome Norma Cantu, who immediately pointed out the importance of celebrating Latinx Heritage Month,” wrote Rosana Blanco-Cano, director of the MAS: Mexico, the Americas and Spain program, in an email. “It is imperative for us to celebrate the culture of our city, also welcoming our Trinity students and the community to join us and celebrate, by reflecting on several issues, the rich cultural contributions that the U.S. Latinx community bring to every city in the US.”
Trinity’s celebration of Latinx Heritage Month this year is due largely in part to Norma Cantu, Murchison professor of the humanities.
“About a year ago, when I came to Trinity, it was Latino Heritage Month, and there was nothing I could see that was marketed as that,” Cantu said. “In the spring, we identified themes that we wanted to bring, so we brought writers and filmmakers. All of them will offer the Trinity community insight into Latina and Latino experience here in the United States, but specifically in San Antonio.”
Cantu highlighted the fact that many other universities celebrate Latinx Heritage Month annually and that she saw great importance in Trinity joining these schools in their celebration of Latinx culture.
“It’s important for all of us on various levels,” Cantu said. “I think the Latina and Latino students on campus are acknowledged and affirmed by having events that reflect their experience and their reality. The larger Trinity community is exposed to and can learn from the experiences of Latinas and Latinos in the United States. San Antonio has been here for 300 years, so the community has been here way before Trinity got here. It’s a way of connecting with the community as well.”
Blanco-Cano hopes that students interested in attending Latinx Heritage Month events will keep their eyes open and be willing to interact with Latinx cultures while recognizing the complexity of Latinx experiences in the U.S.
“We will have a number of local and Tejano artists who will definitely question some of the assumptions that popular culture and discourses present about Latinx in the mainstream media,” Blanco-Cano wrote. “This is a great opportunity to become closer to the rich history and culture that these productions present.”
Cantu also has hopes that students will attend the different events that Trinity is hosting in honor of Latinx Heritage Month.
“My most compelling argument for joining us at these events is that you will be surprised, you will learn a lot and you will come away with a sense that we are all in this together,” Cantu said. “Some of it is political, but most of it is cultural. Each one of [the speakers] has a different contribution to make. If you come to one, you get a nice shot of Latino history or culture, but if you come to all of them, it’s a more enriching and more robust experience.”
Trinity University Latino Association (TULA) is involved with helping the MAS program welcome and promote the speakers for Latinx Heritage Month.
“It is important for Trinity to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month because it showcases the diversity of Latinx cultures and the nuances that make up Latinx individuals,” wrote Jennifer Ochoa, president of TULA and sophomore international business and Spanish major, in an email.
Yessenia Lopez, TULA member and junior neuroscience major, attended the kickoff lecture for Latinx Heritage Month last Thursday. (Lopez is an illustrator for the Trinitonian.) The speaker, Jim Mendiola, is a filmmaker from San Antonio. Mendiola recounted the significance of the Alamo from a personal, non-stereotypical perspective.
“The Jim Mendiola lecture was mainly a viewing of the work he does as a writer and director, and it included aspects of his “˜obsessions with punk rock and the Alamo,'” Lopez wrote in an email. “It was received very well by the audience, who had many questions and comments on the vision he made into a reality.”
Lopez also encourages the Trinity community to make an effort to attend Latinx Heritage Month events.
“Every time I go to one, it gives me a feeling of satisfaction because I learn something new and something from a perspective that is not my own,” Lopez wrote. “The lecture series will also give more insight on the Latinx and Hispanic cultures that surround us here in San Antonio.”
Students interested in attending Latinx Heritage Month events can look forward to Laura Varela’s film screening on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m. in Ruth Taylor Recital Hall and can find a list of the events at new.trinity.edu/news/trinity-celebrate-latinx-heritage-month.