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HKS Students Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Through Art

Hispanic Heritage Month
Dozens gather at the "Aquí Estamos" (We are Here) Art Installation unveiling and reception in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month at the Kennedy School Monday evening. According to exhibit materials, the project aims to elevate the voices of Latin American students and staff.

Dozens of students gathered at the Kennedy School of Government Monday to unveil a new art display celebrating students' Hispanic heritage.

The Latinx Caucus, a Latino student organization at the Kennedy School, hosted a reception for the unveiling of “Aquí Estamos,” a new art exhibit honoring National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The exhibit, which was revealed at the reception, featured the photos and personal narratives of Latino students at the Kennedy School. The artwork will be on display until Oct. 15.

The exhibit marks the first time that the Latinx Caucus has worked on a project of this kind, according to Hiram J. Rios Hernandez, chair of the Latinx Caucus.

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“We wanted to do something to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month,” Hernandez said. “We wanted to do something a bit more personal.”

During the reception, attendees shared poems, videos, and stories exploring their experiences being Latino. Five students whose photos and narratives were featured in the artwork spoke on a panel about their Hispanic heritage.

Jenina S. Soto, a first-year student at the Kennedy School who is of Puerto Rican and Filipino descent, had her writing displayed in the art exhibit. She wrote about being biracial and discovering her sense of community.

“This is who I am. I’m American. I am a woman. I am a classmate,” Soto said during an interview.

Others who were not on the panel attended the reception to show support. Rachel A. Estrada, a Kennedy School student, said the unveiling was a way to meet fellow Latino students because she said she feels there are few Latinos on Harvard’s campus.

“As a Latina, it’s important to me to support events on campus that highlight the Latino community,” Estrada said.

According to Hernandez, the Latinx Caucus is the leading organization at the Kennedy School for Latino students, covering a wide range of issues relating to the Latino community. The “x” in Latinx seeks to reflect a gender-neutral name, he added.

Overall, both the reception and the exhibit highlighted themes of diversity and inclusivity.

“We are not a race, we are an ethnicity,” Hernandez said. “We have white, black, indigenous, you name it.”

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