Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated this year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 at the University of Wisconsin.
Numerous events are held throughout the four weeks to celebrate the Latinx community and its culture.
President of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc. and Co-Representative of ChiLaCSA Carlos Puga discussed the significant of Latinx Heritage Month.
“I really saw the importance of the Latinx Heritage Month as a way for us students, mainly those who identify as Latinx, to be seen on campus, not only by other campus officials or the administration but also our fellow students,” Puga said.
One of the many Latinx Heritage Month events was organized Sept. 20 by the Department of Chicano-Latin Studies at UW. It involved individuals of the Latinx community marched up Bascom Hill with flags of countries they identified with.
UW sophomore Luis Cazarin Quiroga, who took part in the march, said it was an “empowering” experience.
At the top of Bascom, people who participated in the march had paletas de la Michoacana, a type of popsicle.
Puga said the march was significant as it helped showcase the different identities embraced under the umbrella term “Latinx”.
“Sometimes, when individuals hear the term Latinx, they can be very scooped into one nationality, but there are so many countries being represented under that term that often, at times, we forget about them, and it’s good for us, as the Latinx community, to also value those other countries,” Puga said.
Later in the evening, Latinx music — a mixture of bachata, reggaeton, merengue, cumbia and hip-hop — was played at the Memorial Union Terrace for “Fiesta En La Terraza”, an event organized by Lambda Theta Phi in collaboration with WUD Music.
Puga said over 1,000 Latinx individuals attended the music event from Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee. The events are posted on Facebook, and every year sees an attendance of hundreds of people.
“It feels like we’re a more tight-knit community now, with all the Latinx organizations on campus,” Quiroga said. “It feels like a second home.”
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Puga, a junior, added that during his freshman year, he knew little about the Latinx Heritage Month because he was not a part of as many organizations. He added another contributing factor was that there were not that many events being planned out.
The Latinx Planning Committee is largely responsible for planning and organizing events during the Latinx Heritage Month this year.
“I think it’s almost our duty to create a lot of events to increase public outreach so that everyone can learn about these great opportunities to come by and ultimately find groups you’re comfortable with,” Puga said. “I think Madison can be pretty intimidating for incoming freshmen. Often, you don’t have any friends, you’re coming to a new space, Madison being predominantly white can often offset students of color from going to a space by themselves, so when an event is geared and specifically oriented towards a minority community, I think that’s how it attracts more freshmen to come here and get involved.”
Latinx organizations on campus are pushing for more events and public outreach this year. As compared to the years before, 2019 is likely to see the most events and involvement.
The events are open to the general public and usually free which attracts more people, Puga said.
“The month really makes us think that we’re here because this is our history — this is how we got to where we are today. For a lot of us, our parents’ goal for us was to come to college. And now that we’re here, at college, we usually ask ourselves: what’s next?” Puga said. “I think their dreams of us coming to college have now evolved to our dreams of changing the world, making an impact in any way possible, making sure we’re getting recognized by the Madison community, by the student body, the Madison administration.”