By, Victor Franco, Staff Writer
The multicultural center and Fuerza Latina hosted the Latino Heritage Month celebration on Sept. 22 in Kelly Commons, which offered many students the opportunity to learn and appreciate Hispanic culture.
Hispanic Heritage month, which takes place from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, is a way to commemorate Hispanic culture. Hayden Greene, the current Director, and Coordinator of the Multicultural Center finds that events like these reflect an inclusivity.
“[The goal] is to make sure that all identities find a home and can grow,” Greene said. “We also inform about opportunities to learn from different identities on campus.”
Greene strives to make several events throughout the year that commemorate the different identities on campus. Hispanic Heritage month allows all students to celebrate and explore many Hispanic traditions as seen in food, literature, and music.
“The hope is that you don’t just focus on Hispanic Heritage during the month, but that you take that information and it stays with you throughout the year,” Greene said.
Viridiana Roman, the current president of Fuerza Latina and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, has been a leader of the Hispanic community at Manhattan College. This semester, she assured that both Fuerza Latina and SHPE were partnering as sponsors with the Multicultural Center to make the event enjoyable for all students. Roman understands the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month because it defines many students in MC.
“I believe it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because it means we’re celebrating all the contributions Latinos have made over many generations,” Roman said. “This month is especially important because it celebrates several of the Latin countries’ independence days.”
As for the event, it was split up into different sections, such as performances and readings which were connected to different Hispanic cultures. Roman enjoyed these parts of the event.
“My favorite part of the event was getting to see the students and Fogo Azul perform,” Roman said. “My friend Ashlie Roque sang mariachi music and her voice captivated every single person in that room. Fogo Azul also played samba music and their energy was incredible. It had many of us dancing all night.”
América Pineda, Fuerza Latina’s secretary, participated in the event and read a chapter from her book, Silky Rizo, which gave a glimpse of her life as a Latin woman. Pineda expressed the relation between her physical appearance and its connection to her culture, something that Roman resonated with.
“Her excerpt was really educational and inspiring,” Roman said. “Her take on what her hair means to her was really eye-opening to the subject of Afro-Latinidad.”
Swapril Biswash and Calissa McNeely were both at the event and enjoyed their time learning about different aspects of the Hispanic culture. Both students acknowledged the importance of the Hispanic culture on campus.
“It is really important to have events like these, especially because at one point in time there weren’t events to celebrate the Latinx culture,” McNeely said. “I think it’s really great that we are able to showcase and embrace that now.”
Bishwash noticed that the event brought together different students from the school and gave them a place to comfortably share and learn more about the Hispanic culture.
“Some students might be embarrassed about something in their culture, but with events like these, they are allowed to be themselves and repre[sent] their heritage,” Bishwash said. The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration ended with a great outcome from the student community. The Multicultural Center plans to annually improve on this event to make it the best it can possibly be.
“I think the event was successful,” Roman said. “We had a big turnout and the food was completely gone by the end of the event, which is the best thing that could’ve ever happened.”