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Hispanic Heritage Month Opener Celebrates Identity

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

hispanic

Alex Gaynor / Heights Staff

The newly renovated O’Neill Plaza took on a Latin rhythm Friday night to kick off the fourth annual Hispanic Heritage Month at Boston College.

The Latin Soul Arts Festival, featuring spoken word performances, a photography exhibition, performances from Fuego del Corazon, and a mariachi band, marked the beginning of the month-long celebration of the Hispanic community at BC. As evidenced by the theme of “¿Quienes somos?,” this year’s festivities aim to highlight the diversity of the Latin community and encourage a deeper exploration of one’s identity in general.

Ines Maturana Sendoya, director of AHANA Student Programs, spoke to the celebration’s motif while addressing the crowd to begin the festival, emphasizing the importance of the largest AHANA community in the United States.

“When I saw the theme, I thought that this was a loaded question,” Sendoya said. “We are a diverse group of people. To answer the question, we’re going to say that we’re a vibrant community and that we’re a part of the tapestry of the U.S.”

The numerous culture club representatives ringing the Plaza attested to the diversity of that community, as tables celebrating groups ranging from the Brazilian Club to the Cuban-American Students Association were open to visitors throughout the evening. Group members, like the Philippine Society’s Brian Limbo, A&S ’15, took to the stage to reflect on their cultural background through poetry.

Limbo’s reflections on identity made up just one of myriad expressions of the diversity of Hispanic culture. Daniel De Leon, A&S ’15, offered stirring thoughts on family and heritage in a spoken word performance of his own. Fuego del Corazon performed and led a Latin dance workshop. Traditional cuisine was served to those in attendance, which included University students, professors, administrators, and a poncho-wearing, salsa-dancing Baldwin.

Erlinda Delacruz, a member of the Hispanic Heritage Month  Steering Committee and A&S ’13, was impressed by the community spirit on display.

“I love the fact that it was an intercollegiate event, since we had kids from BU and the University of Rochester performing,” Delacruz said. “Everyone seemed to have fun, especially with our bachata lessons.”

Delacruz wasn’t the only one pleased with the tone of the festival, though.

“I think the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee did a good job in showing the entire BC community that there is no one definition of what ‘Latino’ represents by displaying the many different cultures that the Hispanic community consists of,” said Nicholson Durand, A&S ’13.

Jasmine Uduma, A&S ’13, also lauded the night’s community spirit.

“I love the event this year,” Uduma said. “It’s just the type of event that BC should promote: people of all different cultures getting together to just have fun.”

Hispanic Heritage Month continues through mid-October on campus with a series of speakers, showcases, and meetings exploring and celebrating Hispanic culture. The celebration’s opening speaker, ¿Oiste? Executive Director Alejandra St. Guillen, will headline the month’s next event on Sept. 19th.

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