ETSU Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
The LCRC and the Multicultural Center hosted a series of events at ETSU celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, a period that ranges from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 each year in the United States.
Musical Guest Florencia Rusiñol - Sept. 11, 2021 at the UMOJA festival, King Commons.
The festival runs from 4 pm to 11 pm.
Art Exhibition: José Galvez’s Al Norte al Sur: Latino Life in the South, Sept. 20
- Nov. 2, 2021,
ETSU Reece Museum
This exhibition features intense photographic documentation of Latinos living in the southern United States and consists of dozens of images of work, play, protest, and celebration. José Galvez is a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, and his work represents a more nuanced contribution to current debates on immigration and assimilation. For more information, go to https://www.josegalvez.com.
Hispanic Heritage Month Dance - Oct. 6, 2021 at 7:00 pm in the Culp Center Cave
The Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center, in partnership with the Hispanic American Student Community Alliance (HASCA) and the LCRC, invites you to an evening of live music, socialization, and DANCE. In a non-intimidating and upbeat environment, you will learn the most popular ballroom and Latin dances from the amazing B.J. Goliday, while listening to the amazing voice of Florencia Rusinñol. Whether you’re learning some Latin dance moves, socializing, or enjoying the live music, this event is intended to bring joy to all those who attend.
Talking Cuba - Oct. 7, 2021 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, Campus Center Building, Room 233 and via Zoom
ETSU professors Karen Kornweibel and Matthew Fehskens and Cuban immigrants from the community will discuss historical aspects of what is happening in Cuba today and offer ETSU students a different contextual perspective on Cuba today. Attend in person or via Zoom: Campus Center 233 (limited sitting available) or https://etsu.zoom.us/j/93133407853.
Workshop and Concert by Julio Corro - Oct. 14, 2021 via Zoom, 11:30 am - 12:50 pm
The LCRC is co-sponsoring with Appalachian Studies a visit by Julio Corro. He is a luthier who makes the jarana jarocho, a musical instrument from Mexico.
Hispanic Student Day - March 9, 2022
This event welcomes Hispanic high school students from the region to visit ETSU and learn about attending a college or university.
More about Hispanic Heritage Month:
Before telling you more about those events, I would like to offer some context. This celebration commemorates the heritage, histories and cultures of people coming from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, and South America and their contributions to the US.
The word “Hispanic” has a controversial history with two different etymologies. Back in Rome, they used to call the whole Iberian Peninsula “Hispania.” Anyone from that region would be called by Romans “Hispanus.” Hence, if we look at it from that perspective, even the Portuguese, who would very likely disagree before hearing the whole explanation, are “Hispanic.” Not everyone knows about this piece of history, and “Hispanic” is understood, mostly in the US, as meaning “coming from a country where Spanish is spoken.” That happens because during his presidency Richard Nixon created this term (Yes! The word “Hispano” did not exist, it wasn’t used at all, in Hispanic Countries before that) to use it for Census purposes to identify people of “Hispanic Heritage.”
For the second time in History, first the Romans now the Americans, a whole complex and rich culture was labelled by someone from outside of it. Spanish, originally Castilian, the language adopted by Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon when unifying Spain and that was imposed by them on the regions they conquered, is not the only language spoken in the so-called Hispanic countries. Even in Spain, there are other official languages, such as Euskara, also called Basque, Gallician, Valencian, and Catalan, that are still spoken, taught, and studied to this day. That is, they resisted the imposition of the Catholic Kings, as Isabel and Ferdinand were called.
In Latin America, the history goes on. There you will find native speakers of Portuguese, French, Quechua, Kichwa, Guarani, Spanish, even called Castilian in some places, and many others. So, what should we call you, Felipe? Latinx is currently the better term. First, it shows a rejection of both the Roman and the American attempt to label our culture. Second, it is inclusive and respectful towards all genders and sexual identities. But yes, we still want to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month, because, among other things, it gives an opportunity to discuss the term and fight for a more inclusive society absent of labels and linguistic prejudice. Linguistic prejudice, such as the one the Southern accent suffers in the US, are not absent from Latin American countries. There are many examples that I choose not to repeat here, but if you are Appalachian you will not have trouble imagining how it feels to be made fun of because of the way you speak. And that is why defining an entire culture by only one language is not only inaccurate, but unfair.
Why is Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated between September 15 and October 15? Because this time coincides with the commemoration of many countries in Latin America with their independence from Spain. Or close to it, like the Brazilian independence that is celebrated on September 7th. That even includes Mexican Independence, which falls on September 15th and not on May 5th. Shocking, I know. Nothing would be more convenient at this time than to reject a terminology that is characterized by colonialism, the Castilian language of the kings, and to embrace one that was created by Latinx people themselves.
So, you don’t like Spain, you might be wondering? I love it with all my heart. I embrace its culture as my own. Because, by end of the day, it is a big part of it. I personally don’t mind being called Hispanic, but I choose to use Latinx instead when referring to myself and others that share my origin due to all reasons explained here. It’s a conscious choice of what my identity is.