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Hispanic Heritage Month Closing Celebrates Identity

Heights Editor

Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01


Photo courtesy of Sothavy Doeur

On Saturday night, Boston College Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated its closing ceremony with a fiesta of food, dancing, and performances in Gasson 100. The ceremony, presented by the Office of AHANA Student Programs (OASP), the Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee, the Archbishop Oscar Romero Scholarship Committee, and the Latino/as at Boston College Association, marked the end of BC’s fourth annual Hispanic Heritage Month. Students, families, and faculty filled the audience to celebrate BC’s Hispanic culture, language, and history.

“Our running theme for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month has been ‘¿Quienes Somos? Who Are We?’” said Alejandra Cabrera, a member of the committee of student representatives and A&S ’14. “Our theme for tonight is ‘Somos.’ The closing ceremony is about answering that question—the question of who we are.”

While guests waited for the ceremony to begin, they enjoyed a slideshow of photos with students holding signs saying ‘Somos ….’ The pictures had been collected throughout this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

 “We had students write ‘somos’ and an adjective describing their culture as one of our projects,” Cabrera said. “The word could be in English, Spanish, any language, describing [themselves] or Latinos. I think it is important to remember that though it is Hispanic Heritage Month, at the end of the day we are very diverse and we are all one. That is the message we wanted to share with this project. We wanted to show our culture but at the same time we wanted to make it integrative for everyone.”

The closing ceremony began with the “Desfile de Nuestros Paises,” or “Parade of Our Countries,” in which BC students carried flags representing the world’s Hispanic countries. Ines Maturana Sendoya, director of OASP, reminded students of the importance in celebrating their culture and heritage.

“As Latinos, we need to celebrate everything we do with dance, music, and food,” Sendoya joked. “So please celebrate with your friends and family, and enjoy tonight.”

The show featured performances from Uprising, Voices of Imani, and Sexual Chocolate, as well as outside groups Salsa y Control, who performed a contemporary salsa dance, Flamenco Boston, Fuerza Internacional, and Grupo Efectivo. During intermission, guests danced with friends and snacked on Latino dishes and cake.  
This year’s ceremony attracted a diverse audience of students, faculty, and alumni, and was something that Francisco Bernard, a member of the committee of student representatives, co-director of the closing ceremony and A&S ’15, considered a great success. “It is amazing and heartwarming for me to see so many students and faculty members not only at tonight’s event but the Hispanic Heritage events throughout the month,” he said. “The diversity of the student body here tonight is really incredible.”

Hispanic Heritage Month featured 13 events this year, including the Latin Soul Arts Festival, the Esperanza 5K, a Latin Culinary Showcase on both main campus and Newton, and Hispanic Heritage Month’s first ever photo exhibit. When asked about the success of the closing ceremonies, Cabrera believed the diverse audience attested to the night’s success.

“I think there has been a great turnout this year, and a very diverse turnout, which is great to see,” Cabrera said. “It shows that there is a very big Latino community at BC. So many students are interested in the culture, and I think Hispanic Heritage Month has been a great way to share a little bit about our heritage with everyone on campus.”

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