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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

community events

Library celebrates Hispanic Heritage Day


The Monroe County Public Library was anything but quiet Sunday.

Music from a live mariachi band filled the library. Two men and two women in traditional mariachi dress played underneath the international flags that hang from the library staircase and spoke in Spanish to their audience between songs.

“It’s not normal to have a mariachi band in the library,” Community Engagement Librarian Bobby Overman said. “But people from other countries don’t get to hear live mariachi music all the time, so it’s important.”

The band’s act was part of Hispanic Heritage Day, a celebration of Hispanic heritage MCPL coordinates with various Hispanic and Latino outreach groups in the city.

In addition to live music, adults and children played traditional games, posed in a photo booth and made paper flowers to celebrate
 the day.

“We’ve probably been doing this for about six years now,” Overman said. “We are little outside the window of Hispanic Heritage month, but we still wanted to celebrate it.”

Hispanic Heritage month began Sept. 15 and ended Oct. 15.

IU sophomores Thania Galan and Elizabeth Rodriguez said they volunteered with the library because they weren’t able to go back to their hometowns to celebrate their independence parades.

“The Saturday before Sept. 16 is when our independence parade is in Hammond,” Galan said. “But my sorority sister told me about Heritage Day and I thought it was interesting.”

She and Rodriguez sat at a table with a box of dominoes. Between play sessions with other children, Galan stacked her dominoes into a tower.

She said dominoes wasn’t necessarily a traditional Hispanic game, but it was still a tradition for her.

“Everybody has their family game,” Galan said. “This is mine.”

Across the room from the domino table, El Centro Comunal Latino occupied two display tables. Health project coordinator Jane Walter said the organization seeks to provide Spanish-speaking individuals with resources their community needs, such as interpreters, access to an immigration lawyer and tutoring 

For Hispanic Heritage day, Walter and another representative from the group brought traditional games. Walter picked up a string and threaded a button onto it to demonstrate.

“This is a traditional game from Honduras,” Walter said. She began to spin the string and the button around and held it to her ear.

“We think of computers so often these days,” Walter said. “But children have been playing with whatever is around them for a long time.”

She added another button and began to spin the two together.

“See? It sounds different now,” Walter said.

Although the day was a celebration of Hispanic culture, many different types of people participated in the activities. Galan pointed at the people in the room where she worked and noted the diversity.

“There’s a lot of different people here,” Galan said. “Seeing different ethnicities and cultures is important.”

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