Students, faculty and staff descended on the Student Center Quad to learn, dance and mingle as the Office for Hispanic Initiatives wrapped Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month events and festivities with a Block Party. The afternoon event featured a DJ, live music, food and alegria (joy).
Wednesday’s event was “very embracing of our culture” says Natasha Soto, a Bronx native and freshman International Business major. She took a break from dancing to Bad Bunny’s “Tití Me Preguntó,” captured on her phone by friend and fellow freshman Amya Rodriguez, to add: “It’s a taste of home. It’s also an opportunity to meet people of the same background.”
Director of Student Belonging Duane Williams talked with people tabling and said he loves to learn and experience other cultures. “Visibility is key,” says Williams, who is of Jamaican descent. “Just as I want to be visible in any space that I am in, I want to see and recognize what makes others unique.”
Meanwhile, the party continued with domino games and dancing to a live Afro-Caribbean Ensemble from the Cali School of Music.
The Block Party culminated a month-long campus celebration that started with a flag-raising ceremony and parade of flags and included research discussions on The Long-Term Impact of COVID-19 on the Latinx Immigrant Community and The Benefits and Perils of Black Racial Identity Development among Black Latinxs, a documentary film screening and more. Hispanic Heritage Month, which coincides with Independence Day celebrations across many Latin American countries, started in 1968 as a weeklong commemoration under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was expanded to a month 20 years later by President Ronald Reagan.
Photography by John LaRosa.