Eastern to celebrate Latino Heritage Month

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

Eastern will celebrate Latino Heritage Month with a series of events, including a kickoff reception, guest speakers, a dance and more.

According to professor Kristin Routt, Latino Heritage Month is a national celebration of the contributions Latin Americans and Latinos have made to the country as well as world culture.

Kenia Gonzalez, the coordinator of Latino Heritage Month, said she strove to provide events students would enjoy.

“I did try to make (the events) entertaining and something that they want to go to,” Gonzalez said.

The Latino Heritage Month events will begin with the kickoff reception at noon on Monday at the Doudna Fine Arts Center followed by Vanessa Perez, a journalist from Chicago, speaking at 3 p.m. in the Witters Conference Room at Booth Library.

Perez will also be available after her presentation for a meet-and-greet at 4 p.m. in the Edgar Room at Booth Library.

Another event called “Charlando con Los Profesores Latino Americanos” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Witters Conference Room at Booth Library.

Literally translated as “Chatting with Latin American Professors,” the event will be set up as a faculty panel, with professors who are immigrants from Latin America as well as one who identifies as Latino discussing experiences in their career.

The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) will be putting on the “Vamos a Bailar Dance and Lessons” event at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 in the University Ballroom at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The event will be open to students and faculty who wish to attend, with dance lessons available for those who are interested.

The “What is Latinx: Panel Discussion” will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Charleston/Mattoon Room at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The event will include discussion from a professor on the topic of terms used to describe people who have connections to Latin America as well as discussion from a panel of students about how they identify and why that identification matters.

Routt said she is looking forward to hearing what the students have to say about how they identify.

“I’m really excited about seeing our students attend the events and participate in the discussion about culture and identity,” Routt said.

Daisy Contreras, a Latina journalist in the State House, will also be speaking at 3 p.m. Oct. 9 in the 1895 room at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“In the past we’ve done a lot with Latin America,” Routt said. “This year we’ve really made an effort to incorporate Latino culture and our Latino students on campus, so they can see more of themselves in their own culture.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].