Why celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, especially if you have no Hispanic blood running through your veins? Eating good Mexican food while being serenaded by a mariachi band is not the only reason to celebrate the culture! The United States of America takes its diversity seriously, national heritage months exist for this very reason. This month, the USA acknowledges and celebrates the Hispanic culture for its contributions to our society. Last year on September 15, 2009 our President stated, “Hispanics have played a vital role in the moments and movements that have shaped our country… Hispanics have served with honor and distinction in every conflict since the Revolutionary War, and they have made invaluable contributions through their service to our country…I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.” Presidential Proclamation National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Center for Multicultural Enrichment works to answer that “call”; which first came from President Ronald Reagan, who he enacted into law on August 17, 1988 that September 15 – October 15 of every year would be nationally celebrated as Hispanic Heritage Month. Celebration of the Hispanic people start with an awareness then gaining knowledge of the customs and culture, there is no better way to gain knowledge than to ask questions and/or find ways to authentically experience the culture. In my position at the Center4ME and especially being responsible for cultural awareness programming – I am always getting the opportunity to meet people and I took the opportunity to sit down with two Center4ME student workers to learn more…and wanted to share with you.
Meet Stephanie. She is Cuban-American and tells me about celebrations, get-togethers and family gatherings as one of the essential, defining elements of Hispanic culture. “Most Hispanic culture, if not all, is very family-oriented. If anyone has a problem, everyone tries to help! We don’t work individually; we work as one whole family. We also have many gatherings, for instance we would to go my aunt’s house at least once every week to all have dinner together, there would be about 15 to 20 people eating together every weekend.” So, I see that family is not the only thing that is important, but being together and having family time has high value.
Meet Julie. Julie is of Mexican heritage and describes the historic Mexican celebration unique to the Mexico Independence Day. “The 16th of Septemberis the day we call ‘Deiz y Seis da Septiembre’, on that day we have what is called El Grito which is the name for our Mexican Fiesta. On this day Mexicans all over the world celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule. "El Grito" which translates to the "the scream, or the yell" comes from the screams and hollers of all the Mexicans who wanted and then celebrated their freedom from Spain.
From September 15, 2010 to October 15, 2010 the Center4ME will be celebrating and recognizing different aspects of the Hispanic culture. Beginning with Fiesta Latina, Noche De La Cena (night of cinema), Dinner and a Movie on September 17th, What’s the Difference (a panel discussion) and ¡Ay Carumba! (late-night Latin party), and finally Spanish Convocation. There is no lack of celebrations happening on campus!
Both Julie and Stephanie eagerly took a few minutes to let me in on their own personal Hispanic culture. As the Center4ME and Liberty University does their part to answer the “call”, make sure you also do your part by learning about the Hispanic culture which can include coming out and participating at one, a few or ALL of the events planned. My challenge to you is to learn more about the culture than the food and be serenaded by a Mariachi Band!
Amy Teer is a 2001 graduate of Liberty and received her
Master's from Northern Arizona University. She loves to
run and be a mentor for young women.
Posted at 10:34 AM | Comments (3)