Last Friday, Taco the Town arrived at 30 College Street to kick off Latinx Heritage Month and Beyond. Students, faculty, staff and even President Clayton Rose joined the festivities. Although campus programming for the month has been significantly reduced since last year, this event marked the first of five programs scheduled for this year’s Latinx Heritage Month and Beyond.
Angel Ramirez ’20, the president of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), expressed enthusiasm about the success of the kickoff event.
“[It’s] basically our way of welcoming students, staff and all members of the Bowdoin community into the Latinx Heritage Month celebration,” Ramirez said. “We had a pretty strong showing. People like free food.”
Organized through a partnership between the Student Center for Multicultural Life, the Latin American Studies Department, LASO and the Charles Weston Pickard Lecture Fund, the events incorporate a wide variety of thematic elements and are designed to appeal to a broad range of students.
In addition to the kickoff event, several speakers will be coming to Bowdoin, including Patti Vasquez, renowned author and comedian who had hosted a talk show in Chicago for the past five years.
Another speaker will be Kelsey Freeman ’16 who is returning to campus to share her work with immigrants. After interviewing Central American immigrants over a nine-month period, she is writing a book about her research and migrants’ stories. Freeman’s talk reflects a goal that Ramirez expressed for this month’s events: shedding light on Central American immigrants and their experiences.
Additionally, Lorena Wolffer, an artist and cultural activist from Mexico City, will give a talk about the stories of those who have been traditionally excluded from narratives of Mexican heritage, focusing specifically on women. She will also make an appearance in an advanced seminar taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Latin America Studies, Irina Popescu, who was an integral part in getting Wolffer to come speak on campus.
“A lot of her work focuses on women and how they’re sometimes not as much the focus in the conversation of Latinos and Latinas, so that’s pretty exciting,” Ramirez said.
According to Ramirez, a lot of the upcoming programming was organized by Benjamin Harris, director of the student center for multicultural life, diversity and inclusion in student affairs, with special guidance from the Latin American Studies Department.
In addition, visiting Lecturer in Spanish and Romance Languages and Literature Barbara Sawhill helped bring speaker Daniel Alarcón. The LASO board also provided guidance in selecting the speakers to campus.
“We wanted to get [a lot of] feedback from LASO members,” Ramirez said. “We had a couple of members from the LASO emailing list give us some direction in terms of what it is they want to see.”
The programming organizers have also been working to set up an informal conversation with Alarcón before his lecture, an opportunity which would allow students and other interested participants to further engage with Alarcón’s work. In his talk, Alarcón will speak about music, print and other mediums as vehicles for sharing Latinx stories.
“I really hope there’s a lot of community interest,” said Ramirez. “I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to talk to him in an informal setting and talk a little bit about the work that he does.”
Editor’s Note: Angel Ramirez is a photographer for the Orient.