I am UIC: Latinx Heritage Month creates social discussion

Junot Díaz and Cristian Baeza. Photo: UIC Creative & Digital Services

On Oct.13, the grand finale of the celebration of the Latinx Heritage Month took place at the UIC Forum.

The inaugural Connection Gala featured Junot Díaz, one of the most edgy writers of our time and a Pulitzer Prize-winner for his book, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

The main objective of the occasion was to create an opportunity for students to network with UIC’s alumni and faculty.

“On each table, we paired each student with a UIC alumnus whose career is similar to the student’s current major,” said Cristian Baeza, president at Lambda Theta Phi fraternity.

During his talk, Díaz addressed societal issues, such as social justice, community solidarity, equality, neoliberalism and women’s rights. He urged people of color to establish solidarity within each other’s community in order to achieve the American Dream.

“Our communities need solidarity by seeing each other’s community as allies,” Díaz said. “I am a person of African descent, and I wouldn’t mind having a conversation with my African diaspora community. We are going to need each other for the future.”

The author urged students not to limit their dreams or believe that they cannot achieve their life goals due to the color of their skin.

“None of my immigrant students feel like it is their God-given right to have dream,” he said. “None of them believe that the future is us forming solidarity with each other.”

The writer encouraged students and community members to work hard and work together.

“The majority of people of color don’t think that having a critical perspective on neoliberalism is a core of what we are going to need to move forward,” he said.

Clarissa Najera, a senior in psychology, and vice president of the UIC student chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, agreed with the ideas Díaz presented in his speech.

“Those are the core ideas we promote in our club. I also agree with the fact that neoliberalism affect the society, but this issue is not really emphasized in the society just like Díaz mentioned,” she said. “Moreover, people of color really need to come together to navigate the future because that is the way forward.”


Temitope OdedoyinTemitope 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.

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