New RSO to focus on empowerment

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

Esperanza, a new registered student organization, focuses on women empowerment and enables members to create a safe haven for students with different cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations.

Blanca Aragon, president and senior community health major, said the RSO was approved last March before spring break, but Fall 2017 is the first official semester for Esperanza.

Miranda Ramirez, vice president junior elementary education major, said she and a group of girls came together to create the RSO to spread awareness and to educate about various cultures and diverse backgrounds.

The members named the group “Esperanza” because it means “hope” in Spanish, said Lina Lopez, treasurer and junior finance major.

Although the focus is on empowering women, the organization hopes to empower everyone, Aragon said.

“Members share their cultural values and experiences, so we can educate the community as well,” Aragon said. “All of us come from different backgrounds.”

She said the organization strives to educate each other on different backgrounds, cultures, values and beliefs.

Ramirez said Esperanza members will host a free workshop to educate participants about corn tortillas and their cultural significance as part of Latin Heritage Month.

Attendees will also get the opportunity to make their own corn tortillas at this workshop 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the cultural center.

“It is fun, but you are still able to learn the history,” Lopez said.

Ramirez said the RSO members will sell paletas, or popsicles, on Sept. 27 in Coleman Hall. The money raised will go toward their organization.

A fundraiser in October is also in the works for Esperanza to bring attention to breast cancer awareness month, Ramirez said. The members believe it will be a t-shirt sale.

Five official members are in the RSO, although more attend general body meetings, Aragon said.

At this week’s meeting, the organization will write inspirational quotes on cardstock to pass out to people to empower them, Ramirez said.

At a previous meeting, she said the group taught “bachata” and “merengue,” which are dances originating from the Dominican Republic.

“The people who did come could experience what that culture does,” Ramirez said.

Lopez said at one meeting they had a dance class, the next will be a hands-on activity and another might be a pizza night.

She said the group has fun but still keeps the conversation about things happening around campus and things they could do to brighten someone’s day.

“I suggest students come to our meetings, because we are open to everyone,” Aragon said, “We are here for you guys to support you in any way we can, even if it is the smallest gesture.”

The three students said anyone is welcome to come to their meetings, which are held at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in the Shelbyville room, if they want to learn more about Esperanza or join the RSO.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].