Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Latinx Heritage Month on Campus

Last year, a debate started on campus regarding the name of the then-called Latinos Unidos student organization.
The debate centered around the name itself and the possibility of changing it to something that could be considered not just inclusive, but a name that got across a statement of inclusiveness. This culminated in the changing of the organization’s name to Latinx Unidos this year.
“[The term] Latinx is slowly making its way into more scholarly work,” said Cindy Morales, President of Latinx Unidos, “At the moment, it’s very popular within social media…it’s not really a new phenomenon and a lot of other colleges and organizations around the US have started changing their names as well.”
Despite the change facing some push back in the form of concerns of what alumni might think about the change and thoughts that the current name was already inclusive enough, the name changed this year with the goal of broadening the inclusiveness of the group to continue to welcome and encourage the member ship of those with different sexual and gender identities.
The name change is a step that other organizations around the country have already taken, and this was emphasized at the kickoff event that Latinx Unidos hosted Tuesday the 13th, where Professor Araceli Masterson-Algar, the academic adviser for Latinx Unidos, spoke to those assembled.
Professor Masterson-Algar spoke more on the process that led to the eventual name change:
“Students had been actively working on this question for over a year, actually”, she said. “There was not a uniform position among the students on how to specifically address their concern for potential exclusions in the original name.”
As part of students’ efforts to work through this question, and in addition to researching and communicating with groups at other institutions, they asked faculty to join them in the discussion. Professor Benjamin Mier-Cruz and Araceli Masterson-Algar shared a session with students on potential options that could address such concerns.
What the group wanted to address was the possible limitations that the name Latinos Unidos put on the group. While Latinos does not imply a masculine plural, as the-os ending includes both genders, it doesn’t assertively put forth the group’s direction for further inclusiveness the name Latinx does. Besides this more obvious statement in the name, according to Professor Masterson-Algar: “Latinx reaches beyond the potential hierarchies implied in the term ‘Latinos’…and therefore, it is politically strong”
Professor Masterson-Algar shared her thoughts on the importance of the month and the name change occurring together. “The change in the name shows that Latinx students on campus are thinking about what it means to be Latino” she said, “It shows their ability and the strength of these students to go beyond the celebration of Hispanic Heritage month as…cultural traditions, food, clothing, and five or six role models. [It’s an] invitation to think about who we all are as a nation and how different populations remember and value heritage”.
The new name is covering posters across campus this month as Latinx Heritage Month continues. with Professor Masterson-Algar giving a talk on “Who is Dayani Cristal?” on September the 22nd and Latinx Dance lessons taking place on October 6th. The month will culminate in the Latinx Heritage Month Finale on October 15th.

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Latinx Heritage Month on Campus