USC is gearing up to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with a series of events starting on September 15. From kickoff to the closing ceremony, students will have the opportunity to attend a variety of shows, discussions and festivities.
For this month and beyond, USC’s Latinx student organizations, such as La CASA, are creating more opportunities for celebration and appreciation, offering programs and services that highlight intersectionality and educate students about Latinx issues. While the calendar for the month is still in the works, La CASA ambassadors gave us some insights on what to expect.
“Getting to see our culture and celebrate it is really important because it lets you know that we’re welcome here at USC, just like everybody else,” said Micaela Zamora, a La CASA cultural ambassador.
USC will commence Latinx Heritage Month with a kickoff on Friday, where attendees can participate online or in person at Tommy’s Place at noon to grab a quick bite and engage in discussions with other community members.
September 15-18 marks the anniversaries of independence for Latin American countries from Spanish rule, according to National Hispanic Heritage Month’s official website. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate on September 15, while Mexico and Chile celebrate on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
In addition to this, October 12 marks Día de la Raza, which is celebrated in place of Columbus Day. This holiday recognizes “the mixed indigenous and European heritage of Mexico” instead of “paying homage to the controversial explorer and conqueror Christopher Columbus,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
In Los Angeles, members of the Latinx community make up most of the population.
“I think [Latinx Heritage Month] is really great to celebrate the biggest minority in the area and just around the U.S. We’re also in a predominantly Latino area and that just doesn’t get acknowledged,” said USC student and La CASA cultural ambassador Adrian Guevara. Participating in Latinx Heritage Month “just brings awareness to that.”
On September 22, Artists at Play, an Asian American theater group, and Latino Theater Company will present the premiere of “This Is Not a True Story.” Founded in 1985, the Latino Theater Company utilizes artistic expression to honor tradition and culture. The organization harnesses theater to commentate on contemporary social issues and “awaken the collective consciousness” to act in forging a better future.
Another event, Machismo, held on September 27 will spark dialogue on the expectation for men in the Latinx community to suppress their emotions.
“I guess the equivalent word in English would be like toxic masculinity,” said Zamora, a sophomore studying biopharmaceutical sciences.
Machismo refers to strong masculine pride, which can consequently stigmatize emotional vulnerability. Zamora reflected on her personal upbringing, mentioning that she is “surrounded by men in my family that have a hard time like opening up and showing emotional intelligence.
“I think it’s very important to, you know, explain that and go further into that,” she said. These discussions can be a starting point to see “growth of our community” and foster a more open environment.
Guevara, a senior studying political science, expressed his excitement for the new La CASA center opening in the Student Union, which will hopefully be open for the general public by the next Latinx Heritage Month.
The Latinx community encompasses a rich variety of cultures and backgrounds, each a unique and integral part of the vibrant community.
“I definitely would love to see events that are not just Mexican centric, because I think that happens a lot,” reflected Zamora. “I’m Mexican, so I guess this is coming from somebody that would love to visit other cultures.”
This steps in tandem with this month’s theme of “Unidad, ProSperidad y Cultura” — unity, prosperity, and culture — which sets the foundation for the Latinx community to “learn about all of our differences but at the same time realizing that we have many similarities and that we’re just united by the fact that we’re all from the same community,” according to Guevara.
“We all deserved to be unified here,” said Zamora. “We shouldn’t be looked at as like somebody else is better than the other, like a culture deserves to be celebrated more than the other.”
USC’s celebration of Latinx Heritage Month will come to a close on Wednesday, October 11 with a celebration including special guests, music and food. The official USC events calendar for Latinx/e Heritage Month will be finalized ahead of the kickoff event on Friday.
For more information, check out: https://calendar.usc.edu/LHM