Multicultural event kicks off Latino Heritage Month
Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 03:09
On Thursday night, students gathered at the 10th annual Latino Heritage Month opening ceremony featuring keynote speaker of the nigh actor, Edward James Olmos.
The ceremony was held in the Trabant Multipurpose Room and attracted approximately 450 attendees.
The main message was unity among both the student population and humanity as a whole.
"Edward James Olmos was chosen to speak at this event because he is a known face," HOLA President Cesar Lopez said. "He acted in the movie ‘Selena' as Selena's father, so he is pretty recognizable. Olmos has been active in doing things for Latinos."
Olmos's speech was meant to inspire students of different ethnic backgrounds to come together.
"There's only one race, the human race, period. There are distinct cultures on this planet, but only one race. Race is a unifying word, stop using it as a dividing word," Olmos said.
Freshman Maria Marquez, member of La Raza and HOLA, read a poem at the ceremony.
"I want everyone to hear the message that we are a nation together, one culture," Marquez said. "We are all immigrants, everyone comes from different places."
Junior Vanessa Pabon-Garcia performed the only musical selection of the evening.
"I'm going to sing ‘Dos Colores,'" Pabon-Garcia said in her introduction. "It is very dear to me, and I'm going to sing it with someone who is very dear to me, my little sister."
Freshman Michelle Carrera attended the event to support her student organization, HOLA.
"I've seen the movie "Selena"," Carrera said. "Also, I'm of Latino heritage so I thought it would be fun"
HOLA was one of the registered student organizations sponsoring the event along with The Center for Black Culture, Multicultural Programs, La Raza, National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, Office of the Dean of Students, Residence Life, Student Centers, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Commission to Promote Racial and Cultural Diversity and the Theatre Department.
After the event, there was a reception which allowed students and audience members to interact with Olmos one-on-one.
"The unity of the human race is the most crucial aspect," Olmos said following the ceremony. "We have to learn how to live with each other," Olmos said following the ceremony.
Junior Kena Cantiveros said she thought Olmos was a good selection for keynote speaker.
"Olmos was amazing," Cantiveros said. "I liked his UN story, how he changed the word race. I couldn't believe it."
Olmos was invited by the UN to speak about unity.
Sophomore Melanie Pacheco has attended Latino Heritage Month programs in the past and enjoyed hearing Olmos' speech.
"I'm definitely going to Fiesta Latina for the salsa dancing," Pacheco said. "I went last year and really enjoyed it."
The Fiesta Latina is hosted by HOLA on Oct. 22 at the end of Latina Heritage Month.
"There will be a live band coming in and performing, some dancing and a little food," Lopez said.
Thea Ogunusi, graduate assistant for the Center for Black Culture said she believed the evening accomplished exactly what the sponsors hoped it would.
"I definitely think it was a success—nice mixture of people coming together to celebrate Latino heritage," she said.