Photo taken by Ana Ortiz
Photo featuring the Association of Latin American Students at the Sept. 2019 Flag Parade held at Georgia Southern.
Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated nationally every year from September 15 to October 15. Each year Georgia Southern takes part in this by holding events across all three university campuses.
The importance of this month is not one dimensional. While it is important to celebrate, it is also important for students who do not identify as Hispanic or Latinx to take time to learn about those who do.
“It’s our opportunity to highlight things about Hispanic and Latinx cultures to give those students who identify with those groups and the opportunity to have their cultures highlighted but also to educate other people about their identities,” said Maurice Nelson, coordinator of diversity education and program outreach at the Office of Multicultural Affairs at GS.
Georgia Southern has hosted many events like Fiesta Day and a Flamenco dance class to get students involved in the festivities. However, it is important to remember that celebrations of different cultures should not be limited to one month.
“Heritage months are tricky because we don’t want to perpetuate the idea that we only celebrate those heritages during those months, so we try to be very strategic about that in making sure that we have programming and educational opportunities also outside of the month but we do find it important to highlight the heritage month itself,” Nelson said.
“I’m from a small town and the only latinos that went to my high school were just me and my younger brother, so I was never around other Latinos growing up,” said Carlos Chavez, a junior mechanical engineering major and president of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS).
When looking at potential universities to attend, it was important to Chavez that he go somewhere with an organization like ALAS.
“It serves as a support system for the Hispanic/Latino population on Georgia Southern’s campus,” said Chavez. “We are one of the minorities and being a minority it can feel like you don’t really have a lot of resources.”