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Student groups at Harvard are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting cultural events and discussions on campus.
Hispanic Heritage Month, which aims to recognize the histories and cultures of Latinx Americans, spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
The student organization Fuerza Latina hosted its inaugural cultural fair on Saturday. The event, called Ritmo Latino, showcased the cultural traditions and foods of more than 10 Latin countries.
Alejandra Beltran ’25, the social chair of Fuerza Latina, said she was inspired to plan the event to bring students of different Hispanic cultures together.
“Since this event includes all of the countries that don’t even have an organization, it’s the first time something like this has ever happened,” she said.
The fair featured cuisine from the Latinx diaspora, with a decorated table for each country represented. Several student cultural groups and individuals also performed during the event.
“The point of this event is that it’s a cultural showcase, so every country is going to have a small presentation,” Beltran said. “When the event finishes we encourage everyone to go through every table to have a little sample of food from every country.”
Beltran added that planning the event required significant, yet fulfilling hard work.
“The only thing we are getting out of this is sharing our passion and a piece of home with each other,” she said.
Kilbert Baez-Arias ’24, president of the Dominican Student Association, also praised the interchange between Latinx student groups at Ritmo Latino.
“I think that it’s a great way for there to be collaboration amongst the different groups, so that we just kind of feel a lot more connected to each other,” he said.
The Harvard Foundation and the Phillips Brooks House Association also teamed up to celebrate Latinx heritage by co-hosting a screening of the documentary “Latino Pioneers in Boston” on Thursday.
Matias Ramos, associate director of the Harvard Foundation, said the film highlights the considerable contributions and perseverance of Latinx Pioneers in the Boston area.
“Today’s stories show the breadth of experiences and approaches that Latino community leaders have taken over the last 50 years to make a difference in Boston,” he said. “They worked together with others to create a shared voice and to bring demands forward that advanced access to education, representation in media, political power, and organizing.”
Ramos added that the screening has important takeaways for students, such as the “humility and empathy and kindness” illustrated in the film’s stories.
“No matter where you come from, you have a special ability,” he said. “But it takes commitment, and it takes not just one day and not just rhetoric, but action and negotiation and coming together with others and meeting them where they're at.”
Phillip Brooks House Association Executive Director Maria Dominguez Gray said she hopes the screening showed students the connection between Harvard and the Latinx population of Boston.
“Sometimes we stay in our bubbles,” she said. “And it's really important for us as part of the Latinx community here to know the story of our local communities.”
Dominguez said she hopes students will feel a call to action to engage with and assist individuals outside of Harvard’s campus.
“My specific hope is that while we're here, we realize we're part of a greater community outside of the campus,” she said.
—Staff writer Monique I. Vobecky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @moniquevobecky.
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