HALO kicks off Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month with a celebration

Students of all backgrounds were invited to attend the HALO event. HALO encouraged the sharing of Hispanic culture across people, regardless of their origin.

Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. The month is dedicated to recognizing Latinx/Hispanic history, culture and their contributions to America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this tradition began in 1968 during President Lyndon Johnson’s term and was originally only celebrated as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the week to cover a 30-day span.

The date Sept. 15 was chosen to start this celebration because it is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. Mexico and Chile also recognize their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18. Finally, on Oct. 12, many Latin countries such as Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica celebrate El Día de la Raza to recognize the heritage, colonization and cultural diversity of Latin America.

This year, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization began the event with a celebration in the Memorial Union Thursday, Sept. 15. The organization provided music, conchas (a type of Hispanic bread) and agua fresca, a drink made with water and fresh fruits. They also sold raffle tickets for a chance to win a t-shirt, gift card or a basket containing items such as movie tickets, school supplies, snacks and candy.

HALO planned this event to teach other students more about Hispanic history and culture through food, music and conversation. Ana Estrada, president of HALO and junior political science major, was happy to share Latinx and Hispanic culture with other students.

“In my opinion, culture is meant to be shared instead of it being taken and people doing cultural things without knowing the background,” said Estrada. “I think sharing is very important. That way we don’t become separate; we can all share together.”

HALO finds that these events also bring awareness to their organization.

“A lot of people here, even Hispanic people, might not know that there is a group that they can belong to,” said Estrada. “It’s important to give those people a space to feel that ‘belonging’ here at Washburn and share with people that are not Hispanic or Latino.”

Angela Valdivia, advisor for HALO and career services specialist, added that students who have a sense of belonging on college campuses are more likely to complete their college career.

“Students of color want to find friends that are like them in similar ways, but if they feel like they don’t have any kind of connection to anybody on campus, they might not stay or continue their education,” said Valdivia.

Valdivia encourages all students to join HALO to get connected and gain an understanding of Hispanic heritage and culture.

HALO welcomes all students at Washburn to join their organization in celebrating Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. The next event will be National Taco Tuesday Trivia Oct. 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Union.

Edited by Alijah McCracken, Justin Shepard