From group discussions with guest politicians to relaxed virtual gatherings, student organizations celebrated Latinx Heritage Month between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15 by discussing Latinx perspectives, highlighting underrepresented voices, and facilitating community building,
One such organization, Latinas Unidas, hosted a screening and discussion on Oct. 15 with Chilean filmmaker and visiting lecturer Dominga Sotomayor. According to president Sammantha Garcia ’22, around 30 students attended the event to watch and discuss Sotomayor’s short films.
Throughout the month, Latinas Unidas also held a social media campaign over Instagram to spotlight different Latinx individuals’ achievements. The club also highlighted events from other Harvard cultural groups and promoted Latinx social issue campaigns and petitions.
“I think it's really powerful to have empowering board members plan events around other inspiring people outside the community, that may not be as recognized nationwide,” said Garcia.
On Oct. 23, Fuerza Latina hosted “Pintar Y Identidad,” a relaxed evening of painting via Zoom. Fuerza Latina co-president Luz Ramirez-Ramirez ’22 said she hoped the event would allow attendees to demonstrate pride in their Latinx heritage through art and learn more about the diversity and intersectional identities present across Latin American cultures.
In an effort to make the activity more accessible to participants, the club also mailed out free art kits to 20 students. Participants’ images were later collaged and posted on social media to celebrate the presence of the Latinx community at Harvard, according to Ramirez-Ramirez.
“Even though we’re not on campus, we’re still very much present, in that we are proud of who we are and the identities that we hold,” Ramirez-Ramirez said.
Co-president Sheila De La Cruz ’22 said the group hopes to continue many of the efforts it focused on over the past month into the future.
“One of the main things that we really just wanted to emphasize was having a space where students from a Latinx background can feel included, like they belong to a community,” De La Cruz said. “Even though we know that, officially, Hispanic Heritage Month has ended, we still want to continue our initiatives.”
The Institute of Politics also held a number of discussions in observance of Latinx Heritage Month. The IOP partnered with Latinas Unidas to hold a “Pizza and Politics” event on Sept. 23 with Maribel Hernandez Rivera, a district director for U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Hernandez Rivera stopped by the virtual event to answer questions about her time at Harvard, her experience in politics, and her path to her current leadership role.
On Oct. 16, the IOP partnered with the Harvard Undergraduate Brazilian Association to host “LatinX Month Pizza and Politics - Policy Making in Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Running for International Office” to discuss policymaking in Brazil with Brazilian politicians and education activists Tábata Amaral ’16 and Renan Ferreirinha ’17.
In addition to the two Pizza and Politics events, the IOP also held a larger panel on Oct. 7 titled “Election 2020: The Latinx Perspective on Political Journeys in the United States.” Moderated by IOP 2020 fellow Jorge L. Vasquez, the panel invited political leaders and advocates Melissa Mark-Viverito and Kenneth Romero to discuss their insights on Latinx people’s role in politics and history.
—Staff writer Jessica Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Christina T. Pham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Christina_TPham.