The annual event honors the legacy of Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain while also highlighting the history and cultures of Puerto Rico and 19 Latin American countries.
Texas Tech University's Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI) will host its 11th annual celebratory event, El Grito, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 15). This year, the celebration will be held virtually to eliminate the risk of spreading the coronavirus. The event will be streamed on the El Grito webpage and on LISD-TV. A shorter broadcast also will air at 3 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 13) on KTTZ-TV (Suddenlink Channel 5), the Lubbock PBS channel.
"Because of COVID-19, we were unable to provide the traditional El Grito event," said Nefertiti Beck, director of DDEI's Student Intersectional Leadership Council (SILC). "But doing it this way gives a wider audience, who may not have been able to make it out in the past, the opportunity to experience and participate in El Grito and the kickoff to Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month."
Celebrated at Texas Tech since 2010, El Grito honors the legacy of Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain, while also highlighting the history and cultures of 19 Latin American countries. It is hosted in conjunction with the Most Rev. Placido Rodriguez, C.M.F., Bishop Emeritus of Lubbock.
This year, the event will begin with a welcome message from Dalia Guerrero-Villalobos, student chair of the Latinx Heritage Month Committee, followed by remarks from Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. A short broadcast on each of the 21 countries' history and culture will include a presentation of their flags that explains the significance of the symbols on those flags. The event will conclude with the official "grito," or shout, given by Rodriguez.
"This is a celebration of the independence gained from Spain and Portugal, and it pays homage to all the people who were instrumental in that struggle and fight for freedom," Beck said. "It's important to continue the tradition in order to educate others and shine a light on the culture, each of the different countries within that community and their flags and what they represent."
The event also serves as the official kick-off to Texas Tech's Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Staff and students in SILC and various student groups coordinate both El Grito and programming for the month-long observance.
This year will include virtual panels with local experts who can speak on topics affecting the Latinx community, like representation, health care and immigration. Details and links to the Zoom panels will be shared on the Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.
"We have invited people from within the Lubbock community who have a level of expertise in these areas to provide the campus community with opportunities to learn more about some of those issues being faced by the Latinx community," Beck said. "They will discuss how to better support the Latinx community and ways to be an ally, educating and informing not only students but also the larger campus and Lubbock communities."