Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on Thursday at Eastern

Katja Benz, Student Government Reporter

Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off with tacos and speeches at Eastern from alum Yesenia Muruato, University President David Glassman and Provost Jay Gatrell on Thursday.

Muruato, a two time Eastern alum who works as an education specialist for the office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement, is the coordinator of the events for Hispanic Heritage Month. 

As a Latina, Muruato thinks that it is important for people that identify as Latino to celebrate their roots.

“I think it’s definitely important to celebrate our roots, our culture, especially because it’s comforting when you’re away from home,” Muruato said. “It kind of brings a little piece of home, you know, here on campus we get to share a culture with other people who might not be too familiar with it. So it brings a new perspective to campus.”

Murato thinks that coming to the Hispanic Heritage Month events helps others merge into Latino culture.

“I think that coming to our events and merging into our culture and learning about it [helps merge into Hispanic culture],” Murato said. “It’s okay to ask questions as long as it’s in a respectful manner, but honestly, embracing the culture, learning about it and exploring new things that you might not think you might like, is a great way to start.”

Amairany Bueno Benítez, a sophomore marketing major, is the secretary and treasurer for Alpha Psi Lambda. 

Alpha Psi Lambda is a co-educational Latinx fraternity on Eastern’s campus.

Bueno Benítez agrees with Murato, saying that learning about Latino culture is important.

“I think it’s just supporting what we do,” Bueno Benitez said. “Like if you see a post made by us or LASO, just to maybe repost it. Make it known to people that it’s very important to us this month. We’re celebrating because it’s who we are, and we’re proud of it. So just being able to make it known to the entire school or more people that ‘hey, this is who we are, and we’re proud of who we are.’”

There are panels on topics from what Latino people label themselves as, the experiences of Latino students that are disabled and being a first generation student.

Murato thinks it is important the panels have a lot of variety to them and showcase important issues that Latinos face.

“I think this is just for everyone to be coming down to our panels,” Murato said. “We have a series of panels where we’re gonna be discussing, like the differences about someone calling themselves Latino versus Hispanic or Latinx, so there’s different terminology. And even us as Latinos, we still find it difficult to decide what we want to call ourselves. So that will be our first workshop. We also have workshops regarding undocumented students, students with disabilities, students within the LGBT community. So there’s a lot to learn. So, again, embracing the culture and learning about issues that are important to us.”

Aside from the issues being important to the community, Bueno Benítez says that these events made her realize that she is proud of who she is.

“Growing up [I was] actually figuring out [that] I should be proud of who I am because my parents and everyone else’s parents and grandparents and family went through so much for us to be here right now, having our own education and pursuing our careers” Bueno Benítez said.


Katja Benz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].