A cultural heritage month is a space to recognize a certain group and celebrate their contributions, and from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 it is National Latinx Heritage Month. This heritage month is a 30-day period to celebrate Latinx culture and create community, with many events happening at Iowa State.
“This month is important because it is a platform for us to talk about what we bring with us and to dispel some myths,” said Diana Sloan, program director for Hispanic/Latino Affairs for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “This is when we can discuss or remind the people of our communities that Latinos throughout history have brought a wealth of contributions to society and that Latinos today continue to work hard and make this country great. We are not here as criminals or as people that other people should be afraid of.”
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sep. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sep. 18, respectively.
“Latinx Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements, history and progression of the Latinx community,” said Jalen Shell, coordinator of multicultural programming and academic program for excellence for Multicultural Student Affairs. “The purpose of the celebratory month is to recognize the contributions and vital presence of both Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and to observe their native heritage and contributing culture.”
Sloan said that even though the event has taken on many names, the main point of the month is to celebrate the cultures recognized by the month and to remember the diversity those cultures bring to the United States. She said the month can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people and everyone celebrates it differently, whether it be by celebrating a language, traditions or the family-centric culture.
“Latinx heritage is important because it is a way to celebrate the diversity that we have here at Iowa State University,” Shell said. “There are many Latinx faculty, staff and students here at Iowa State and it important that we acknowledge their culture. It is essential to take the time to learn about the great things that members of the Latinx community are doing for the country right now, but it is even more important to know about the history behind Latinx culture to aid in the discussion of where they are now and where they will be in the future. For a lot of people, they do not have the opportunity to experience Latinx culture, but it is important that through the efforts of MSA and campus partners that we are able to provide ISU with this opportunity.”
Every year there are multiple events put on at Iowa State to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, and this year is filled with 10 events all month long.
Mextasy Art Exhibit
Sept. 10 to Oct. 20, Multicultural Center, Memorial Union.
Mextasy both reflects on and expands upon William "Memo" Nericcio and Guillermo Nericcio García's award-winning book “Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the Mexican in America.” In addition to racist artifacts from American mass culture, the show also features works that are "xicanosmotic," or the fusion of cultures and histories of the U.S. and Latin America.
Latinx Student Celebration
3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 16, Gold Room, Memorial Union.
All Latinx students are invited to join and connect in the Gold Room to kick off celebrations in honor of their heritage. Food, music and networking will be provided.
Hilton Chair Speaker Series: Cati de los Ríos
6 p.m. Sept. 17, Great Hall, Memorial Union.
Cati de los Ríos responds to Leigh Patel’s (2018) recent call to imagine both schools and literacy as a sanctuary for immigrant communities and to work and provide concrete practices and networks that schools and teachers can engage to stand more deeply in solidarity with vulnerable communities.
Documentary Film Festival
6 p.m. Sept. 19 to Oct. 10 (every Thursday), Parks Library 198.
Every Thursday come to eat snacks and watch a documentary. The list of documentaries includes The Postville Raid, Stolen Education, Voices from Mariel and The Last Colony: A Meditation on Puerto Rico’s Political Status.
Impostor Syndrome Workshop
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 19, Carver 205.
A panel discussion where multicultural faculty, staff and students talk about their experiences with impostor syndrome. Panelists will provide key insights on what impostor syndrome is, the ways they were able to overcome the feeling of impostor syndrome and how they maintain confidence within themselves.
U.S. Latinx Studies 25 Year Anniversary Symposium
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 28, Sun Room, Memorial Union.
This symposium is set to engage memory, incite conversation and encourage cross-cultural connections throughout the Iowa State campus, Iowa and the Midwest. Events throughout the day include dynamic panels with Iowa State students, faculty, staff and local and national experts, presentations on Iowa State initiatives and a keynote address on stereotypes from author and curator William “Memo” Nericcio.
“A major event that will be happening during Latinx Heritage Month is the 25th year Anniversary Symposium held by the U.S. [Latinx] Studies Program,” Shell said. “The symposium is open to all members of the ISU community that will engage memory, incite conversation and encourage cross-cultural connections throughout the ISU Campus, Iowa and the Midwest. This 25th-year celebration is a major accomplishment for this program and it is important that as a community we continue to support the great work that they do.”
For more information on the symposium and to register, go to the Department of World Languages and Cultures website.
“Beyond celebrating this month, [remember] that Latino or Hispanic heritage is important and is valuable and is to be celebrated year-round, not just through mid-September to mid-October,” Sloan said. “Let’s not forget about us for the rest of the year.”
Shell said students can celebrate the month by going to the various events put on by Iowa State as well as being open-minded to learn the accomplishments and cultural achievements of the Latinx community. She said there will plenty of ways for students to get involved throughout the month and many opportunities for students to get engaged.