After a month of events designed to honor and educate about Latinx people and culture, a large crowd gathered in a quad at USC on Wednesday for a celebration to cap off Latinx Heritage Month.
The event, called Noche de Cultura, featured music, food and speeches by USC President Carol L. Folt and poet Luis J. Rodriguez, among others, which drew bursts of cheers and applause.
“I think it’s a time to be proud. Like, it’s our month,” said Randy Esparza, a sophomore majoring in psychology who attended the event. “I like that it starts with the independence day of so many countries in Latin America. I love seeing everyone’s posts about their pride of being from a certain country in Latin America.”
Over the last month, the Latinx Student Assembly has been facilitating events to honor and educate about Latinx Heritage Month, which is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 every year in accordance with the independence days of many Latin American countries.
The theme for this month’s Latinx Heritage events is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Community,” and the student assembly aims to “encourage and facilitate the academic, pre-professional, cultural, social, and political self-realization of USC’s Latinx community” through these programs, according to their website.
Noche de Cultura was the largest event the LSA held this month. In addition to speeches, organizations facilitated by the LSA were in attendance, ranging from pre-professional clubs to Latinx Greek organizations.
Students at the event reflected on Latinx Heritage Month and their excitement for the Noche de Cultura celebration.
Mariana Hernandez, a sophomore majoring in geology, said the month “really reflects on what it’s like to share your culture with other people that don’t really know about it.”
Lourdes Saldana, a freshman studying neuroscience, said, “This month to me reflected advocacy for our culture, what we have been through, the food, and the environment. I really like events like these because it gets Latinos around campus together which is good because you feel at home and welcomed. It makes me think how there are a lot more Latinos than I thought because you don’t get to see a lot of Latinos around campus.”
LSA director Melina Quiles commented, “We wanted a chance to share all the diverse cultures of Latin America with the students on campus. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to spread awareness about the organization and also other organizations, and just show students that they have support if they need it, especially Latinx students.”