|Rose, Hiram and Neftalí
Arroyo performing traditional Costa Rican music during
the Opening Ceremony plating the “guiro” instrument.
|Epifanio Fuentes and Laurencia Santiago, Mexican Zapateca Indian artists, carve Copal wood from Tilcajete Mexico using a machete and decorate them with indigenous designs.|
Hispanic Heritage Month Speaks to Many
By Lucrecia Arenas
This is Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrations are under way.
This is a time for Hispanics to celebrate their culture and their accomplishments in the USA, their differences and contributions to society.
The National celebration runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a period during which most Latin American countries celebrate their independence. Here at RVCC, the celebration will go on through October. This celebration is organized by Student activities and the Orgullo Latino (Latin Pride) Club.
Hispanic students are 10% of our RVCC community; this number has doubled in the last five years.
Rose Arroyo, co-advisor of the Orgullo Latino club, said that Latinos sometimes forget their own identity. This is a way to remind them that they are Latinos and should be proud of their heritage.
“Hispanics make up a big part of the U.S. today. This month helps us be recognized and accounted for. It is important that we let the world know that we are here to stay and proud of it,” said Gema Castañeda, a student from Nicaragua.
Several activities are planned to let everyone celebrate this month. This is not about celebrating Hispanic culture by Hispanics alone but to share their heritage and celebrate all together.
The opening ceremony offered the flavor of Hispanic culture to an international group.
“The opening was really good. I enjoyed it. Being Indian, I did not know anything about Hispanic culture but, listening to the music, I am much more interested. I think each and every culture has its own importance, and Hispanic culture is one of the most important cultures of America,” said Purvi Gandhi from India.
“I think is good to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. I’m not Hispanic but I like it, said Samuella Kargbo, a student from South Africa.
Traditional music was played by a group of Hispanic students. The Puerto Rican song “En Mi Viejo San Juan” song (In My Old San Juan ) and others touched homesick-hearts and let others enjoy music in Spanish.
Fran Domitrowski said,
“It’s great, the music is excellent! Everyone has to look
into his culture and background.”
The literacy celebration will take place on Oct. 19 (noon to 1:30) in the Welpe Theatre, where students and faculty members will read selections from books, poetry and songs by Spanish-speaking writers (both in English and Spanish). The closing “Fiesta,” will feature delicious Latin American food and, of course, Spanish music and dancing on Oct. 29 from 7 to 11:30 p.m. at the Cafeteria.
All these activities are free of charge. Everyone is invited, so even if you are part of the 90% of students who doesn’t belong to the Hispanic group you should come.
The Orgullo Latino Club was founded in 1993 out of the need of Latino students to have a place to meet and go beyond just classes, according to Arroyo. She said these students need a place to promote their culture, to create a fellowship between Latinos. This covers an extensive group of countries with many cultural differences but all part of a whole.
During club meetings with Arroyo and co-adviser Eva Fontanez, students get motivated, discuss scholarships, make friends and have a great time.
Castañeda, a Human Services student from Managua said, “I love my club. It’s so much fun, and to be part of it gives me satisfaction and the courage to keep on being bold and outgoing. If I hadn’t swallowed my fear of being with strangers I wouldn’t have been able to recognize how wonderful this club really is.”
She went on to say, “I’ve never really associated myself with other Hispanics before and that always made me a bit sad. I have always wanted to be part of something so festive and loud and refreshing. As this is my first semester here, I feel that this club is my stepping stone to a successful future in whatever I do, with my people right by my side.”
The club has between 12 and 20 members each semester; Spanish and English is spoken in their meetings, which are Tuesdays at noon in room H-111.
Asked about the club’s mission, Arroyo’s face lit up and her voice changed with excitement. “We are more than friends,” she said, “we are like a family.”