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Student Diversity Board celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with dinner

| Thursday, October 3, 2019

Hispanic Heritage Month is a nationwide celebration running this year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in the United States. It is a time for people to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the country’s culture, heritage and history.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board held a dinner for students who wished to come together and celebrate these contributions with the community.

Callie Patrick | The Observer
A mariachi band performs at a Hispanic Heritage Month dinner hosted by Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board Wednesday. The event aimed to celebrate Hispanic culture in the United States.

The dinner included popular Latino dishes such as empanadas, quesadillas and enchiladas with a dessert section that included Spanish flan and churros and drinks such as pineapple agua fresca. The celebration and meal was accentuated with the addition of an eight member mariachi band playing in the forefront. Students could be seen dancing to the band and giving song suggestions as the celebrations continued.

“During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Congress passed a law that established a Hispanic Heritage Month on Aug. 17, 1988. President George H. W. Bush then issued the first proclamation of the national holiday on Sept. 14, 1989,” said senior Jazmin Herrera, president of the Student Diversity Board. “This year marks the 30th annual Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Senior Eliana Sanchez — president of La Fuerza, the College’s club representing Latina culture on campus — said the month is a celebration of the beauty of countries with Hispanic heritage. These countries and regions include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela and Uruguay.

“We are the fruit that our parents and grandparents planted. Our culture enriches this country. Seeing our people becoming successful and overcoming the odds is something worth celebrating,” Sanchez said. “Each one of us sitting in this room is worth celebrating. We have future lawyers, educators, activists and so many more bright futures at every table. Please continue the growth our parents, grandparents and peers have created.”

On the topic of positive growth, the two students shared some facts pertaining to the growing accomplishments of the Latino population.

“By 2020, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 70 million, and by 2050 one in four Americans will be Hispanic,” Herrera said.

America’s Hispanic community also holds growing economic clout, Sanchez said.

“If it were a nation in itself, the U.S. Hispanic market would be one of the top 10 economies in the world,” Sanchez said.

Furthermore, Herrera said the Latino population is increasingly represented in the top educational tier of American society.

“The Hispanic population has been steadily increasing in college degree attainment by about 0.5 percentage points each year, and over the last decade, they have raised their representation between 30% and 40% in teaching, law, medicine and management professions,” Herrera said.

The two speakers urged for students to continue to fight for positive growth.

“Although we have accomplished a lot in this nation, there is still much more work to do,” Sanchez said.

Herrera expressed gratitude for the College’s effort to support its Latina students.

“Keep fighting for our representation, advocacy and future in this country,” Herrera said. “Thank you to all of those who nurture our growth, here at Saint Mary’s.”

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