Event celebrates Hispanic 'desire to succeed'
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 23:09
The Hispanic Presidents’ Council and the Professional Hispanic Network teamed up Monday night in the Memorial Student Center to lead the opening ceremony in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
In addition to a food buffet and a poetry reading, the event featured keynote speaker Marco Portales, an English professor at Texas A&M, who discussed the importance of an “evolved” Hispanic and Latino community.
“Latinos have a deep desire to succeed,” Portales said. “Education is our first concern and most desired need. The present and the future are not going to be like the past. The world always continues to evolve, and we have the opportunity to lead this change.”
Portales said Latinos are the largest non-white ethnicity in the U.S, making Spanish the 2nd unofficial language in the country. He said these numbers mean nothing without influence and leadership, and that he believes that education is the key to leadership.
“Latinos need to keep pushing the education button,” Portales said. “We cannot improve ourselves by being indifferent to our problems. Life is about constantly enabling ourselves so that we may accomplish our dreams.”
University President R. Bowen Loftin also made an appearance at the event, and provided the opening remarks for the ceremony.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is about what [the Hispanic and Latino community] bring to the table,” Loftin said. “It’s about a difference that challenges us and makes us better.”
Loftin said there is a need and a desire for more Hispanics and Latinos to attend the University and he will continue to recruit through his last day of office.
“When you come to campus, it’s important to feel welcome and comfortable,” Loftin said. “Seeing people from the same background should give you the warm feeling that someone like you is here.”
The event saw a positive turnout of students and residents of the community. Senior economics major Sammy Clark said he attended the event because he believes in the importance of understanding and relating to different communities.
“Being the marketing director of the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference, I know how important it is to talk about the African American community, so I can more than relate to the efforts put on by these organizations to spread knowledge of the Hispanic community,” Clark said. “I hope people come out and try to learn things that have been ignored for too long.”
Closing remarks at the ceremony were provided by the president of the Professional Hispanic Network, Bonnie Bustos-Rios, who encouraged everyone to attend the events put on for Hispanic Heritage Month.
“The purposes of these events are to bring the Hispanic community together so that we can create a more comfortable community for everyone,” Bustos-Rios said.
Bustos-Rios also said he encourages non-Hispanic people to attend the events as well so they may learn something new and enjoy the multitude of festivities offered.