Latinx Heritage Month Events Continue
PennWest California is honoring Latinx Heritage Month by hosting a series of events designed to educate students about Hispanic culture and encourage creativity in the process.
Organized by the Cal U Art Club, Cal U Catholic and the Hispanic Student Association, this week’s event featured a screening of the film “The Official Story,” as well as a variety of crafts, including beadwork and painting.
According to the official website, National Hispanic American Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, celebrates the many ways Hispanic Americans have influenced and enhanced American culture today.
The film, “The Official History”, is a fictional interpretation of real events that occurred in Argentina throughout the dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla, beginning in 1976. The purpose of this event was to simultaneously educate students on the history of Argentina, while teaching them traditional crafts.
Andrea Vergnaud, born in Colombia and current president of the Hispanic Student Association, underlined how important inclusivity and acceptance are to her and her fellow HSA club members who have not always received the same treatment. .
“We never want people to feel like you have to be Hispanic to do any of these activities,” she said. “So our biggest driving force is education, but also inclusion.”
Vergnaud further explained that her strong belief in equality and inclusion comes from having experienced it herself. She spoke of her family’s arrival in the United States shortly after 9/11 and the mistreatment and misconceptions she and her family had to endure as a result.
“That’s where we come from.” said Vergnaud. We must move forward. It’s been 20 years. »
Vergnaud is committed to providing a place where students of all ages, races and backgrounds can go and feel comfortable.
“We just want people to feel welcome,” Vergnaud said. “No matter your racial background, your involvement in school, you have a place where you can talk to people and not feel left out.”
Meghan Larsen-Reidy, PennWest California’s campus pastor who currently oversees Cal U Catholic, chose to step out of her area of expertise and host this event alongside the campus Art Club and the HSA. She explained that this decision was partly due to the large number of students shared by the clubs.
“A number of our Catholic students are involved with the Hispanic Student Association,” Larsen-Reidy said. “One of the goals we have as a group is just to better collaborate with the different organizations that our students are involved in.”
Larsen-Reidy said he wants to support students and know where their passions lie.
Larsen-Reidy expressed a similar view on the importance of having a welcoming and inclusive environment on campus.
“We really try to create a welcoming and loving community,” Larsen-Reidy said.
Larsen-Reidy said they want people to bring their authentic selves, their whole selves, to everything they do, and for many Cal students that means they have to bring those cultural events too, because it deeply formed who they are.
“I think if we’re going to encourage people to be themselves, we have to recognize that that also means embracing their cultural backgrounds,” Larsen-Reidy said.
Cal U Catholic is holding a Catholic Mass on Sundays at 10 a.m. and will lead a prayer service on Nov. 1 in honor of Day of the Dead.