by: DARIELLA HERNANDEZ/Editorial Assistant
National Hispanic Heritage Month has been a celebration of the Spanish histories and cultures since the late 1960s.
Hispanic heritage month begins September 15, which symbolizes the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries, and ends on October 15, shortly after “Dia De La Raza,” most commonly known as Columbus Day.
During this month, not only Latinos, but also many other cultures, like to get together and celebrate by throwing parties, carnivals, and attending different museums or historical places that celebrate the Latino culture.
Although many people enjoy the different festivities and foods that come along with Hispanic heritage month, “it is not just about festivals or food, it’s more than that,” says Maria Lopez Strong, academic counselor and the diversity coordinator at South Plains College.
Strong is a firm believer in diversity, raising your voice and seeking knowledge, which are also the main elements that come along with Hispanic heritage. At the beginning of the month, Strong had a mariachi group come to SPC as an introduction for the festivities to come. Besides the musical presentation, Strong has many future goals in mind for the Hispanic heritage months to come.
“If we are able to continue to grow, we can continue to see the things that I want to see, like a poetry slam,” says Strong.
The poetry slam could serve as an alternative to sharing different cultural views, as well as entertainment. Besides the poetry slam, Strong thinks that “working in conjunction with other organizations” will help further express the true meaning behind Hispanic heritage.
Most of the activities throughout the month are held in the Student Center at the Levelland campus. SPC has been a Hispanic-serving institution with a population that is now 24 percent Hispanic students. With the diversity that comes along SPC, there are different classes “that are inclusive of [the diversity],” says Strong.
“Diversity is about inclusiveness,” adds Strong.
Strong says she believes that “in order to be understood, you have to understand.” And although many people “feel threatened by diversity,” Strong suggests that “we need to be ‘prosocial’ in order to have common ground” with all of the other cultures. That is where the true meaning behind most of the cultural awareness holidays comes in.
Hispanic heritage month, according to Strong, has more to do with the different cultures and races than just the Hispanic race. Just like other holidays, this month is about the diversity and the knowledge that comes with being accepting of others and raising your voice.