September 24, 2019 | By Hannah Brauer (she/her/hers), Photographer/Writer Student Lead
Latinx Heritage Month (LHM) is recognized from September 15 to October 15 each year, celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central, and South America.
MESA’s annual celebration of LHM has finally kicked off with the help from Julianna Collado (she/her/hers), a sophomore studying public policy and Undergraduate Coordinator for this year’s events. Collado oversees the planning committee and has worked throughout the summer and this semester to make sure LHM runs smoothly, alongside Javier Solorzano, Program Manager.
“For this year’s celebration, MESA and La Casa wanted to elevate the LHM programming and expand the importance of the month to the university as a whole, not just the Latinx community,” said Collado. “Bringing in [civil rights activist] Sylvia Mendez will help us do that. Our distinguished guest centers Latinx history and will encourage members of the U-M community to engage with our history.”
Collado noted that the planning committee has been intentional in touching on multiple Latinx experiences through the intersectionality of ethnicity and citizenship status, religion, and more. She is most excited to hear from Mendez as this year’s keynote speaker at the opening ceremony.
“Not enough people have heard [Mendez’s] story and her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement,” said Collado. “As an eight-year-old, she impacted the state of California and eventually the nation. Putting that into perspective, the U-M community will be inspired to continue whatever work they are doing to move our nation forward.”
Collado also expressed that hearing from such an important voice in the community will act as a catalyst for future support and education for the Latinx community on campus. For this reason, she said, Latinx Heritage Month serves an important role.
“Latinx Heritage Month for me is about continuing to learn about your roots,” Collado said. “In my experience, I never learned about Latinx culture or history in my K-12 education. College has been the first time that I have been able to explore the experience of my people, and I am excited to have my horizons broadened throughout the month and throughout my life as I continue to learn about what it means to be Latinx.”
See the full list of events happening for Latinx Heritage Month on MESA’s website.
This piece was featured in MESA Notes, a newsletter covering topics of race and ethnicity from MESA. Subscribe to receive weekly updates.