Students from different cultures and races are gathering on campus to celebrate September as Latino Heritage Month.
Poder: Latino Students Association will be hosting a series of events throughout September and October to honor Latino heritage, and to introduce fellow students to a culture they may not be exposed to elsewhere. Their theme this year is “La Mezcla,” which translates to “mixture.”
“Our theme basically represents a mixture of different cultures coming together, which is really what Poder is about,” sophomore Melissa Cepeda, president and founder of the organization, said. “We’re trying to promote awareness of the different cultures around you.”
“La Mezcla” will be celebrated with multiple events, including a one-woman play by actress Elaine Del Valle called “Brownsville Bred.” The play is designed to portray the difficult life of a Puerto Rican girl growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘80s. Del Valle’s award-winning play will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 in Emerson Suites.
Other events include a karaoke night, an event called “Salsa Magic” and a panel, titled “Do You Judge What You Cannot See?” The exercise will utilize senses other than sight. The exercise is meant to point out the judgments people make in their everyday lives. The panel will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 in Clark Lounge.
Meira Keil, an executive staff member, said the event will help bring the students together.
“Events like this are designed to promote inclusion and create a sense of belonging,” Keil said.
While the college hosts speakers and events to promote diversity, people can still be apprehensive about joining clubs and groups they are not familiar with, according to Christina Golding, community service chair.
“Some people feel like you have to be something specific to be a part of something,” Golding said. “But if you’re interested in it, and you want to learn more about it, you can branch out and not be afraid.”
“The feeling of acceptance and inclusion is what the Poder club is after,” Keil said.
Poder is designed to be different, in that it honors Latino culture but welcomes everyone to learn, she said.
“You don’t have to identify yourself as Latino if you want to make new friends, share stories and have a good time,” Keil said. “You just have to come.”