The month-long celebration started Sept. 15 and concludes today.
As Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month draws to a close, the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI) at Texas Tech University celebrates the events held over the past month to honor the culture, educate the community on its history, and advance and strengthen relationships within the community.
“This year's Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month was focused on advancing, educating, and supporting Hispanic/Latinx futures,” said Jade Silva-Tovar, senior director of DDEI.
Silva-Tovar said many events stood out to her during Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, but what she appreciated most was the theme set by students this year: “Esperanza,” which is Spanish for “hope.”
Silva-Tovar said students wanted to see other Latin American cultures celebrated during the month.
“They wanted an opportunity to celebrate not only the Mexican American culture, but the culture of other Latin American countries, so we had the flag parade, dancing, and music,” Silva-Tovar said. “It was beautiful to see students come together.”
Another event Silva-Tovar enjoyed was the Hispanic/Latinx Lecture Series, which featured guest speaker Dr. Lisa Ramirez from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, as well as a Texas Tech alumna.
“There was not a dry eye in the house,” Silva-Tovar said. “It was a beautiful way for her to share her experience and a call to action for educators to think about intentional student support and how we can be doing more.”
This year, the planning committee was led by student co-chairs Alesi Hernandez and Nanette Dolera.
Hernandez serves as president of the Hispanic Student Society (HSS), and Dolera is a member of the Student Intersectional Leadership Council (SILC).
After Silva-Tovar sent out an email asking for someone to co-lead the planning of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, Hernandez volunteered.
“I knew if I didn't step up to the plate, I was going to regret it,” Hernandez said. “I want to take every opportunity presented to me to help people like me.”
Hernandez said events that stood out to her were the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Week Kickoff and El Grito. She said this was the first time she felt comfortable on campus since the pandemic.
“I was happy to finally see something where the Hispanic/Latinx community was celebrated on campus for reaching a milestone, and it was the same thing with El Grito,” Hernandez said. “Seeing everybody come out and seeing all the smiles and laughs really touched me, and I was so proud.”
Hernandez said she enjoyed seeing people light up at the events she helped plan.
“As a community, we often stay quiet and keep to ourselves, but I have truly enjoyed celebrating this month and our culture, traditions and values on campus,” Hernandez said.
Dolera said one of the events she enjoyed was the “Queer Reels, Real Topics Film Screening of Indianara.”
“I love how we are able to illuminate two identities through one event,” Dolera said. “This event is a tangible reminder that we are not bound to just one identity, but rather, our individuality can be an overlap of various experiences and realizations we learn along the way.”
Dolera said she enjoyed working with the planning committee and was proud of the outcome for this year's celebration.
“Turning our ambitious ideas into a calendar full of events was by no means an easy task,” Dolera said. “Everyone's energetic commitment to celebrating culture is the reason why we were able to execute 2021's Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month flawlessly.”
Silva-Tovar said the DDEI plans to continue educating and celebrating the Hispanic/Latinx culture year-round by introducing a new Director position to plan events for heritage months and weeks throughout the year.
“We are constantly looking at what we can do next and what's happening on campus,” Silva-Tovar said.
She said she's looking ahead to celebrations such as Black History Month and Women's History Month to celebrate Hispanic/Latinx community members who are in those communities as well.