September 15th marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. This is an important time for people of Spanish descent. This historical month was founded in 1968 for Latino people to celebrate their roots. People celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Music, Food, and all around festivities. The students of spanish descent and allies celebrated the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month with a kick off social brought to by ALAS and The center of Diversity & Inclusion
George Hudson the director of The Center of Diversity & Inclusion spoke about the importance of Heritage Heritage Month and how other Missouri Western Students should celebrate.
“Hispanic Heritage Month month is important to Missouri Western and the surrounding community because our population of Hispanic Latin X and Latino students need to know that we support who they are, their ethnicity and wanting to create a place of belonging for them,” Hudson said. “We want to let our students know we're proud to celebrate what they have brought to this country and what they aspire to be within their families and their communities.
While it can be important for Latino students to embrace American culture, it is essential that they don’t lose sight of their original roots and identity.
“A lot of times Hispanic Latino students feel the pressures of assimilation,” Hudson said. “You may be aligning yourself with American values, but you also have Latino or Hispanic values and both are 100% important and shouldn't have to choose one over the others. I don't want you to assimilate. I want you to embrace what you like from American culture and also continue to express and embrace your Latin culture.”
Hispanic Heritage month features fun events in the local community as well.
“We have several events going on not only in Missouri Western but also in the community of St. Joseph,” Hudson said. “Starting with the community, we have Latinos connect coming up on October 1 downtown three o'clock until that has a community wide Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. Our students will be able to connect to Latinos serving community organizations and businesses that are thriving and want to see students of Latin descent succeed.”
Marian Montiel, President of ALAS spoke about the importance of her cultural heritage and being a Latin X woman.
“Hispanic heritage is important to me because I've always been very connected to my culture,” Montiel said. “I've always wanted to learn more and express the knowledge to other people as well, so they can have a good understanding of what the Hispanic culture means and why it's important for other people to help other Hispanics around the world. I want to make a difference in the smallest space possible. I want to make some sort of difference here for the Hispanic students here so they can at least graduate here with resources, things like that for them to continue where they're going.”
54 Years later and Latin X people of different backgrounds are still celebrating this holiday and have so much love and pride for their culture. It shows how rich Hispanic culture is, and how prevalent it will remain for future generations.