Students embrace Hispanic Heritage Month
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 01:10
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15. The celebration goes back to 1968 and continues to recognize the importance of Hispanic and Latino Americans, as well as their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Hispanics and Latinos make up 17 percent of the nation’s population and 13 percent of Utah’s population, but some Utahans often do not know much about the culture of the largest minority — which makes up the second-largest group of individuals within the population — in the state.
“I think it’s an advertising issue,” said Antonio Lopez, a sophomore studying family, consumer and human development and vice president of the Latino Student Union. “When it’s African American Heritage Month, I feel like that’s way more advertised than any Hispanic thing at all, in general.”
There was a Latin dance party to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month put on by the ASUSU Diversity Board on Friday. It had a surprisingly good turnout of about 100 students despite other overlapping events, according to Sonina Hernandez, vice president of diversity and a senior studying global communications.
“It can be a risk to put on events on campus or around town when you don’t know if people are actually going to show,” Hernandez said. “I strongly believe that even it it’s a small event and you can get the word out to even just a few people then you are slowly going to make a change to hopefully influence them to share their knowledge.”
Hernandez has personally been involved with LSU before and said the organization generally has some type of event for Hispanic Heritage Month, but this was the first time ASUSU has been involved.
“I went to the dance, and the turnout was alright,” Lopez said. “It was more than expected. Obviously these kind of dances don’t get that many people just because it’s not as advertised, and it’s not as known yet.”
According to Evelyn Hernandez, LSU treasurer and a sophomore studying psychology, Hispanic Heritage Month takes place Sept.15-Oct. 15 each year. This time was chosen because Sept. 15 is the anniversary of the signing of declarations of independence of five Latin American countries in 1821 — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence on Sept. 16, 18, and 21, respectively, falling in line with the month-long celebration.
“To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we decided to let our members know about different Latin American countries,” said Evelyn Hernandez. “We tried to get in touch with our culture and educate members about our roots.”
Evelyn Hernandez has been involved with LSU for the past two years and enjoyed it so much, she decided to be part of the council this year. She said it’s been a great support system for her because she is an out-of-state, first-generation college student and enjoys being surrounded with people in her same situation.