Cultural celebration to focus on Hispanic progress
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 00:09
Organizations across campus are gearing up for a month of celebrating Hispanic culture and the contributions Hispanics have made to the University.
While Hispanic Heritage Month begins Monday, opening ceremonies for the celebration will kick off on campus at 6 p.m. Tuesday in room 2300 of the Memorial Student Center.
Bonnie Bustos-Rios, president of the Professional Hispanic Network at Texas A&M — the organization responsible for planning the opening event — said the event will feature speakers such as University President R. Bowen Loftin and English professor Marco Portales, in addition to spoken-word performances.
“The whole point of the event is to bring people together,” Bonnie Bustos-Rios said. “The kick-off ceremony serves as a springboard.”
Bustos-Rios said that with Portalos speaking on the topic of inclusion, the event is centered around the idea of how the Hispanic community can move forward.
Hispanic Heritage Month will also include a two-day festival of music, food and dance called Fiestas Patrias, a program featuring the published poet Mayda del Valle, along with many more activities.
One such program, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Event, is put on by the Council for Minority Student Affairs (CMSA) to raise support for legislation. This event will take place from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday in room 2505 of the MSC, and will include a showing of “The Dream is Now,” a documentary on the struggles of undocumented students.
“The idea of the documentary is to show the lives of undocumented workers so the student population here at Texas A&M can see from their experiences what it means to be undocumented, what it means to not have a social security number, and the idea behind that is to get support for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Alfredo Garcia, president of CMSA.
In addition to the documentary, Garcia said the event hosts will educate audience members on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform and tell about a phone bank that will take place next week.
“We are going to be having a phone bank next week, which is an event where we are going to phone our representatives in the Senate and the House and pressure them to vote for comprehensive immigration reform,” Garcia said.
Garcia said Student Counseling Services representatives will be present at the event to talk about current and future options for undocumented students to receive counseling.
Another event, called “Caliente!”, seeks to celebrate international Latino culture with free food, dancing, a jalapeno-eating competition and more, according to Hispanic organizations coordinating the event. This event will take place from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Rudder Fountain Plaza.
Alex Almendarez, president of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting — one of the parties helping to organize the event — said the event will be sponsored by Taco Cabana, Lupe Torilla and feature a Mariachi band, Fade 2 Black and an improvisation group.
"We mainly do it to put on a good time," Almandarez said. "We provide an opportunity for our members to network but we focus more on the social aspect of it.”