I am UIC: Celebrating Latino heritage
Latinx organizations have been working effortlessly and creatively for the past three months to host the inaugural National Latinx Heritage Month at UIC. The event began Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15.
The commemoration of the National Latinx Heritage Month kicked off with a Latinx opening brunch. Students, invited guests, members of fraternity and sorority life, and others began to fill Room 302 in Student Center East.
Cristian Baeza, president of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Alpha Chi Chapter, started the event by proudly explaining the essence of Latinx Heritage Month.
“Latinx Heritage month takes part to celebrate the independence of Latin America countries,” said Baeza, a junior in human development and learning. “It used to be labeled as Hispanic Heritage Month, but in order to make it more inclusive in terms of including all Latin American countries and be gender inclusive, we titled it Latinx Heritage Month.”
The purpose of the brunch was to welcome the first Latinx Heritage Month on campus, but also to highlight three departments that support the Latinx community at UIC: the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Service Program (LARES), Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) and the Latino Cultural Center (LCC). In addition, the Latinx community also worked with the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) to plan the event.
The idea of establishing the Latinx Heritage Month at UIC came from Gonzalo Trejo, a recent UIC alumnus and member of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity. Baeza and Margarita Bautista, a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Epsilon Gamma Chapter, made his idea a reality. They created committees, ran meetings and set agendas to start the monthlong celebration.
The group will host a series of events this month. Highlights include a screening of “Harvest the Empire,” Sept. 25, “Motorcycle Diaries” Oct. 2 and “The Book of Life,” Oct. 9; poetry readings, and more.
During the grand finale Oct.13, UIC will welcome Junot Díaz, a Pulitzer Prize recipient for his startling novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the UIC Forum.
Senior Carolina Gallo was excited that an idea suggested by a former student is now a reality for the Latinx community.
“We have come a long way trying to put this event and idea together, I almost can’t believe it is happening, but at the same time I am happy because we have worked so hard on each event and I know students will find it interesting,” she said.
Temitope Eddna Odedoyin is majoring in English and fully concentrating in media and professional writing. Apart from writing, she has have a passion for painting, and enjoys using watercolors, oil paint, acrylic, charcoal, oil pastel. She also has an interest in creative writing and short stories. She believes that art — through writing and painting — is a way of expressing one’s feelings.