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Latinx cultural club kicks off school year with welcoming event

| Tuesday, September 17, 2019

La Fuerza, the Latinx cultural club of Saint Mary’s, kicked off the school year with a welcoming event, “Let’s Taco ‘Bout La Fuerza,” on Monday evening.

The event was a casual social event welcoming new members and discussing goals and events for the upcoming semester.

La Fuerza was established to learn about and share different Latin American cultures, said Eliana Sanchez, a sophomore and president of the club.

“It’s not always the traditional, most-known Mexican culture, but there’s Puerto Rican or El Salvadorean or Honduran or Nicaraguan,” Sanchez said. “We try to emphasize learning about the different cultures within that and then sharing it with the [Saint Mary’s] community in general.”

Aurora Picon, a junior and vice president of the club, echoed the mission statement while adding that “[La Fuerza] is a safe space for students of all cultures to come share and learn more.”

Events in past years have included volunteering at “La Casa de Amistad” and reading Spanish books at the local library.

Sunday marked the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of Hispanic history and culture. In honor of this month, La Fuerza will be partnering with campus ministry to host a Spanish Mass in Holy Cross Hall on Wednesday.

One of the club’s larger events takes place in December when they celebrate Las Posadas — a tradition rooted in the Catholic faith that is meant to symbolize the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The event includes caroling, prayer and fellowship.

“My favorite event is the ‘Week of Poder’ which we host every April,” Picon said. “It is an entire week dedicated to issues facing the Latinx community.”

In the past, this week has included panels on immigration law and other awareness events.

Sanchez said she hopes that the high turnout at “Let’s Taco ‘Bout La Fuerza” is indicative of high attendance for future events.

“My main goal for the year is to host many events because last year we lacked events and we lacked participation,” Sanchez said. “What I want to do is host more events, to learn about the different cultures, but have it bigger so that other people could come and learn. Not just for the students in the Latino community, but so other people can come and learn about us.”

Picon added that she has seen an increasing trend of attendance in her three years in the club.

“The club has been around, [it] just hasn’t been as, you know, popular,” she said. “It still isn’t quite as big as I’d like it, though.”

The trend of increasing participation is most notable at the clubs events, Picon said, which are open to all members of the community, not only club members. She said it is hard to gauge these numbers because some events can have many people while other events are solely the clubs board members.

“We hope to continue to increase participation to reflect the increasing Hispanic and minority population at Saint Mary’s,” Picon said.

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About Mia Marroquin

Mia Marroquin is a rising senior Communication Studies major at Saint Mary’s. Currently serving as Saint Mary’s News Editor, she hails from Holland, Michigan and is an 80’s movie fanatic. Follow Mia on Twitter @_miamarroquin

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