The Latino Hispanic Student Organization (LaHSO) at USD kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 and is continuing to share the traditions of their culture. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and educate about Latino and Hispanic cultures.
Throughout the month, the students in LaHSO have hosted a movie night and open mic night to share the traditions of their culture as well as the struggles associated with immigration. This Thursday, they will welcome Keynote speaker Michael Reyes to share his journey adjusting to life in the United States.
Camila Ordonez, a sophomore medical biology major and LaHSO president, said these events are to bring awareness to the Latino and Hispanic communities.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is just a way to bring awareness to the Hispanic community because while it is a smaller community, it’s such an important community,” Ordonez said. “There are so many Hispanic celebrities, judges, and activities and they bring so much to the overall community. It’s just a way to acknowledge those people and their accomplishments. It’s also a way to celebrate that culture.”
Aside from Hispanic Heritage Month, LaHSO will also host a Day of the Dead celebration on Oct. 30. Day of the Dead is a tradition that honors loved ones who have passed.
Isabella Gasca, sophomore social work major and LaHSO vice president, said she enjoys being a part of LaHSO and sharing her culture with others.
“I fell in love with it because I’ve never had a group of people I can relate to with culture and language,” Gasca said. “It was a good opportunity to meet people that understand my own culture. Hispanic Heritage Month is to celebrate the culture and language for all of Latin America and be able to share our traditions with people here where it’s not so common.”
LaHSO welcomes anyone and everyone from the Hispanic or Latino communities at USD. Ordonez is originally from Mexico and moved to Rapid City, SD when she was in middle school.
She said she had a lot of opportunities when she came to the United States and was excited for the new experience.
“It’s hard not to have diversities anywhere, so it’s important to acknowledge those different cultures and learn about them,” Ordonez said. “It brings some kind of hope for the future and brings knowledge about the world itself. You don’t even have to leave campus for that. Hispanic culture is such a beautiful culture that people know very little about.”
Hispanic Heritage Month ends Oct. 15 but LaHSO works all year to bring awareness to Latino and Hispanic cultures and educate students about them.
Gasca is originally from Sioux Falls, SD but her parents are both from Mexico. She said Hispanic Heritage month is important because sharing traditions creates a more diverse community.
“For me personally, I think just having people understand our traditions, that’s so amazing,” Gasca said. “I love learning about other cultures, traditions and religions and I think that’s something that fascinates a lot of people in our generation. It broadens your view in the world. I’m excited for people to learn and understand.”