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Saint Mary’s celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

| Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This month, Saint Mary’s Latina culture club, La Fuerza, will host a variety of events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month and to promote inclusivity and diversity on campus. The month kicked off with Lotería, a Latin American bingo, on Monday evening.

Club secretary Maria Escobedo said she hopes students will learn to better appreciate Hispanic culture through these events.

“In this very political year, we should be breaking down barriers, building bridges and making connections,” Escobedo said.

Escobedo said these events will help foster a more inclusive campus environment by educating students about the history and culture of Latin America.

President Roxy Martinez said she wants students from all different backgrounds to be able to connect and learn from each other.

“Even though it is a Latina culture club, it is not for Latinas only,” Martinez said. “We’re not different, we just have different backgrounds.”

Martinez said this month is especially important because she believes students cannot truly know the people around them without understanding their cultures.

“It is better to know more about someone than to know less,” Martinez said. “It improves our quality of life and helps us appreciate life so much more.”

This year, the club is really trying to expand from primarily focusing on Mexican-American students, Martinez said. There are Saint Mary’s students from many different Latin American countries, according to Escobedo, and Hispanic Heritage month will be very inclusive of the different cultures from the region.

“We want to reach out to other parts of Latin America and incorporate them into this month and show that we appreciate all Latin American girls and their cultures,” Martinez said.

Escobedo said she is especially looking forward to Día de Celebración on Oct. 6 in Rice Commons.

“This event is celebrating a decade of La Fuerza on Saint Mary’s campus,” Escobedo said. “We are here, and we have made progress.”

Martinez said Día de Celebración will demonstrate how far the club has come since it first began.

“This is showing how much we’ve grown and how many people we have impacted as a club,” Martinez said.

Escobedo said she encourages students to develop intercultural sensitivity.

“We want to celebrate all cultures,” Escobedo said. “Discussions of diversity make us more well-rounded.”

Martinez said Hispanic Heritage month will unite the Saint Mary’s community.

“I think, in general, people should just care about each other,” Martinez said. “We’re a big sisterhood here, and it is like not knowing a part of them. Sharing that love with someone impacts all of us. …. You’ll never know if you never ask.”

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