Hispanic Heritage Month first started out as Hispanic Heritage week during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. It was changed to a month-long celebration, by law, on August 17th, 1988, by President Ronald Reagan.
The timing of the celebration falls around the anniversaries of independence for Hispanic countries. The independence of Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, was achieved Sept. 15, 1821. Mexico achieved independence Sept. 16, 1810, while Chile achieved independence Sept. 18, 1810.
This year, Sept. 15 kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month. It will conclude Oct. 15. The University of South Dakota’s Latino and Hispanic organization, LaHSO, planned a few events students could participate in the culture’s celebration.
The first celebration was a kick-off event Sept. 15 to welcome the celebration. Following that was a movie night Sept. 17. The movie shown was “McFarland, USA.”
Following these events was a Student/Faculty Panel Thursday, Sept. 23. The panel speakers included assistant professor of political science, April Carrillo, director of the proteomics core facility at USD Eduardo Callegari, director of orchestral activities Luis Viquez and political science major at USD Shelsy Santos Segovia.
The panel members took turns answering questions and sharing their opinions on matters affecting their culture.
The first question asked was “What does the word diversity mean to you?”
“To understand what diversity is… is to really become aware that we all live in one world. We all live in the same place. If this planet were to disappear at some point, we would disappear regardless of your gender, your race, your place of origin,” Viquez said.
The panel members were asked what the most noticeable difference between their Hispanic culture and their American culture was.
“There is definitely a broader sense of obligation to community, not only to people you’re related to, but just people in general. There’s more emphasis on helping people because it’s the right thing to do,” Carrillo said.
With Halloween quickly approaching, the panel members were asked how they felt about people dressing up in Hispanic and Latinx costumes.
“It takes away the humanity of a person and their culture. It’s just hurtful to the community. There’s so many options that you could choose from, but instead you want to tease a culture,“ Segovia said.
Carrillo also talked about the impact of Halloween on Hispanic and Latinx culture.
“It’s a culture, not a costume,” Carrillo said.
To conclude the celebratory events, there will be another movie night Oct. 8th at 6 p.m. A karaoke party will take place after the movie. This event will be hosted alongside Spectrum, a gender and sexuality alliance organization on campus.