The background and celebrations of hispanic heritage month

Zach Blair

National Hispanic Heritage Month started Sept. 15 and is in full swing. And throughout this month-long celebration, Augustana College’s cultural groups have events scheduled to highlight what this time truly means.

Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Furthermore, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Columbus Day or Dia de la Raza falls within this 30 day period as well. According to an article on the National Hispanic Heritage Month website, the celebration began as only a week-long, but was later expanded into an entire month in 1988.

President of Latinx Unidos (LU) Stephanie Carreno says she leads so many events during this time “so students who identify as Latinx, or even those who don’t because we’re open to anybody, can get educated and just be connected to their culture,” Carreno said. 

Especially now, Augustana has a large number of gifted students to celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month. In fact, “The largest group of students on campus that classify as minority is Hispanic. And it’s also the largest growing population of kids [that are] non-white going to college. It has been for the past ten years,” Assistant Director of Admissions and Diversity Outreach Eric Rowell said. 

To reflect this growing number, there is no shortage of excitement headed Augie’s way. Augustana’s inclusive and diverse groups throughout campus, along with the effect of cultural significance of celebrations like these, causes the outreach of certain events to be felt on campus and holds a special place in the hearts of many students, especially those of minority groups.

Events planned by Latinx Unidos and similar groups provide a memorable time for students to embrace cultural backgrounds. Through these times, students are given an appropriate and well-deserved space to celebrate their heritage.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, it is particularly important for students to be reminded of home. According to Carreno, “Something you’ll find out about Latinx Students is that they typically come from the suburbs or the city of Chicago and spaces that are predominantly Hispanic or Latinx.”

The reach of a cultural event like National Hispanic Heritage Month has a grasp on many minority students on Augustana’s campus, giving them a voice that they may not be able to express. 

For junior Ivan Fregoso, a member of Augustana’s Multicultural Programming Board, there’s never a limit on who can come to cultural events. The call for recognition may be felt by those involved in cultural groups, but Fregoso calls for action in regard to those attending the cultural events planned for this month, such as the Dia de la Raza event that occured on campus on Sept. 15, 2021. 

“I think we certainly need the allyship of more organizations [and] departments on campus that are not necessarily related to the celebration of culture,” Fregoso said.