Hispanic Heritage Month events celebrate students and alumnae

Dominican has participated in National Hispanic Heritage Month for over 24 years. This year is no different. Several events from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 highlight Hispanic culture, students, and alumnae.

The film “Black and Cuba” was shown in the Martin Recital Hall to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 18. Over 70 attendees filled the hall, including the director of the film, Robin J. Hayes.

Lisa Petrov, director of the Latino & Latin American Studies program, decided to show this film after she saw it last year with Christina Perez, director of the Women and Gender Studies program.

Petrov said, “We knew that we would be starting to recruit for the 2015 Cuba study abroad program about now and thought [showing the film] would serve the double purpose of bringing attention specifically to Cuba, and more generally to the inextricable link between Hispanic and African heritages in the context of Latin America.”

Following this event, Michael Lango, director of Student Involvement, organized the “Qué Nice” comedy show. Lango said: “I had worked with this company in the past and knew they provided quality entertainers. Additionally, the show featured four different comics which we thought would provide a good array of experiences for students.” WGN-TV feature reporter Ana Belaval headlined at the show with a comedic act.

On Sept. 30, the Siena Center hosted Fr. Gregory Boyle to speak about compassion. Fr. Boyle has over 30 years of experienced working with former gang members and incarcerated men and women in Los Angeles.

There are several upcoming events planned for Hispanic Heritage Month, including a film screening of “Te Doy Mis Ojos” by the Wellness Center on Oct. 2. The film focuses on the stigmas of domestic violence and mental or emotional issues in the Latino community.

Poet and author Ana Castillo will be the main speaker at the Lund-Gill lecture on Oct. 9. Castillo was born and raised in Chicago and writes on topics such as exile and undocumented peoples. Castillo is teaching an honors English class at Dominican this semester.

The month will culminate with the Hispanic Heritage Reception on Oct. 10, where Hispanic alumnae/i will be honored for their achievements. Organization of Latin-American Students president Mynor Carcamo said: “Dominican has four pillars: prayer, study, community and service. We recognize a Hispanic alumnus that has excelled in at least one of those categories.”

On the day of the reception, the flags, currently located in the spiral staircase of the Rebecca Crown Library, will be displayed the Social Hall to represent the different countries that contribute to the Hispanic culture here at Dominican.

Some staff members find the recognition of several cultures as essential. Lango said, “I think it is very important to participate in months, weeks, and even days that recognize heritage.”

Petrov said, “Given that we are now a Hispanic-serving institution and this year’s freshman class….is 58% Latino, it is especially important to underscore the relevance of different Spanish-speaking cultures to our campus community.”

Carcamo believes that Dominican excels in supporting diversity. “Dominican does a great job at being multicultural,” he said. “It always supports different cultures: African-Americans, Hispanics, Middle Easterners. It is not a duty but it is important because it is my heritage, my culture, it is something I am proud of.”

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