The Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center (BAIC) held an opening celebration for Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month on Wednesday showcasing the diversity and richness of cultures within the community.
Shawna Cooper-Whitehead, vice president for student affairs, emphasized the diversity that the Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month celebrates, explaining that the Hispanic and LatinX community have roots in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, North America, and more.
“Hispanic/LatinX communities are one of the fastest growing populations here in the U.S. with over 62 million [people],” she said “Our different diversities are one of our strengths.”
Each country was represented in a parade of flags with a fun fact and an interactive performance by Grooversity, a Brazilian drumming group, as well as a dance workshop held by students contributed to the festive atmosphere.
Ricardo Ponce, MCAS ’23, and Monserrat Verdejo, CSON ’23, were the appointed committee co-chairs in charge of planning the opening celebration. In his remarks, Ponce said that he was proud to help plan an event that showcases the vibrancy of what it means to be Latin American.
“[Celebrating heritage month] means to be proud of my culture, to be proud of the people who brought me to where I am today at Boston College,” he said. “I enjoy presenting my people and giving the voices to those who are often overlooked.”
One of the facilitators of the event, Father Michael Davidson, S.J., director of the BAIC, stressed the importance of having this be a student-centered event. He said he wants both this particular event, as well as all events celebrating cultural diversity at BC, to foster a sense of belonging among students.
“It’s meaningful when things are student-centered, and so they [came] together and try to bring all the cultures together to celebrate the Hispanic/LatinX heritage month,” he said “We appreciate these students at Boston College, we appreciate their culture, and we want them to know that we’re not only into diversity and inclusion, but belonging. So this is a celebration of gratitude.”
Emely Espadin-Marquez, CSON ’25, expressed her excitement about the opening festivities and said she felt a sense of solidarity with both the Hispanic/lLatinX community as well as other students through the event.
“I’m very excited to know that at least BC is doing something for Hispanic Heritage Month,” Espadin-Marquez said. “I think it’s just to show that our community and our ethnicity is also welcome. It’s nice to see this all come along and a lot of people who aren’t exactly a part of the Hispanic or LatinX community just coming to support so that kind of brings me a lot of joy.”
Ponce said that this celebration is the first of many as all of the individual Hispanic/LatinX student organizations will hold their own events celebrating the importance of this month.
“We just want people to take away from the opening ceremony the feeling that we feel when it comes to being Latino or Hispanically proud of our culture, language, music, and all that,” he said. “You know, we have a whole month to ourselves. We’re the first one to kick off the year, so we want to make sure that it gets the best experience we got that makes you feel happy, jittery, pumped up, and everything.”
Featured image courtesy of the Thea Bowman Intercultural Center