Fuerza Latina Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

by ANNA WOODSStaff Writer

Fuerza Latina, Manhattan College’s club celebrating and embracing Latinx culture, is excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month pays tribute to the Hispanic-Americans who have positively influenced and enriched society and culture in the United States.

Anna Rosario, an international studies major with minors in peace and justice studies and Spanish, is the current President of Fuerza Latina. She feels that celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is extremely important.

“People need to be educated on the many contributions Latinos have made in the US. It also helps those Latinos born in the United States learn about their heritage. Latino Americans face many challenges causing them to have insecurities and doubts about their heritage and ethnicity, I know because I felt this growing up. I was always a “gringa”  to my cousins because I was too Americanized and then at school, I was too Hispanic. I didn’t know who I was or where I fit in. I have learned to love everything about my culture, from the food, to the music, to the dancing, and to my history.  I am a very proud Latina, from the beautiful Island of the Dominican Republic,” said Rosario.

To Isabel Quinones, a senior childhood/special Education major and former Vice President of the club, Hispanic Heritage month holds a special place in her heart.

“To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means taking the time to reflect on my roots. It helps to show others who aren’t Hispanic, all of the things we have contributed. Whether that be through government, music, religion, we have done a lot for the world (just like every other culture) but it’s nice to have a month dedicated to us,” said Quinones.

Fuerza Latina strives to be a space where everyone can come together and honor Latinx culture. Their meetings typical consists of ice breakers and team building activities to ensure that members are comfortable with each other. From there the club opens up the floor for members to discuss major events in the news or in each other’s lives.

“My favorite part of the club is definitely the community aspect it brings. We become like any other big Latino family; our meetings can get loud and that makes me happy because it shows that we (Latinos) are a presence on campus, and this is a place where we can be heard,” said Rosario.

Gabriella Montes, a senior exercise science major, acts as the Co-VP and social media coordinator of the club. She also highlighted the tight-knight community that Fuerza Latina is.

“Fuerza Latina es una familia- its a family. Our goal is not only to unite the Latinx population within our community but to also educate and create awareness at Manhattan college. It’s a place for all identities to come learn, enjoy and explore latinx culture. Our goal is to be a support system for our Fuerza Famillia and anyone else who may need us,” said Montes

Fuerza Latina has many exciting events in the works for this year.  Their biggest event of the year is LatinxFest, held in conjunction with student engagement.

“LatinxFest, will be held again in November. This is a huge celebration of Latino culture that happens on campus; we have food, music, dancing, and community. It’s a lot of fun and we invite the entire manhattan college community to come and enjoy the fiesta with us,” said Rosario

They could not hold their excitement regarding the event.

“I’m just really happy to be a part of a community that does support Hispanic culture. I’m also super excited for Latino Fest and to be able to spend time with my friends, and appreciating the culture that I hold close to my heart,” said Quinones

Fuerza Latina typically works hard to create a variety of different types of events. In the past, they have held lectures discussing political issues that impact the Latinx community, such as Nicaragua’s political climate or immigration policies implemented in the U.S.  They are working on many other events for the upcoming year.

“We’re working really hard to create a “LOVE YOUR CURLS” event in the spring. A celebration of all-natural hair types which in Latino culture is often torn down instead of celebrated,” said Montes.

The club celebrates diversity and inclusivity, encouraging everyone to partake in their meetings and events.

“Fuerza Latina isn’t just a club for Hispanics, we are an inclusive club that welcomes members from everywhere and all walks of life…If you’re interested or know people who may be interested please come and see what we’re all about,” said Rosario

Fuerza Latina holds their meetings every other Tuesday in the Multicultural Center at 3:30.  The next one is on Oct. 22.