GUEST COLUMN: National Hispanic Heritage Month under way

Here at Indiana University, we are proud to honor the heritages of all of our students, faculty and staff. While we recognize that we stand together as Hoosiers, we also know that we bring to IU very diverse backgrounds that help make our campuses environments where all individuals can grow through gaining the perspective of their peers.

As we gain our bearings in the young semester, I’m eagerly anticipating the wide array of programming on tap for National Hispanic Heritage Month. The annual occasion, which takes place Sept. 15 to Oct. 15—during the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and in celebration of the independence day in Chile and Mexico— celebrates the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans and honors their contributions to the United States.

On the IU-Bloomington campus, La Casa, the Latino Cultural Center, and an Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs program is hosting numerous activities and events. 

The keynote speaker for IU-Bloomington’s National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration will be award-winning poet, writer, performer and educator, Denice Frohman, whose work explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. I understand that she’s quite popular on YouTube and several students are excited about her appearance, so I hope many of you will attend the talk at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Grand Hall in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

There are also more casual ways to engage in National Hispanic Heritage Month, such as “IU Late Nite: Big Friday National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration,” featuring interactive Latino cultural activities from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sept. 29 at the Indiana Memorial Union. Or perhaps you can drop by First Thursdays, the popular festival held at the Fine Arts Plaza, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 for activities focused on Latino culture, artistry, music and dance.

IU’s other campuses will also celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of exciting programming and activities. 

For example, IUPUI students, faculty, staff and local residents can attend FIESTA Indianapolis, held Sept. 16, an annual event that celebrates Latino culture, and a Sept. 20 discussion, “LGBTQmmunity: Being LGBTQ+ and Latinx.” At IU-Kokomo, there’s Culture Bash, an annual interactive international festival that takes place Sept. 20, features food trucks, information booths and cultural performances representing Latin American music and dance. Meanwhile, IU-Northwest is hosting Alma Boriquena, an annual celebration of Puerto Rican culture and history Sept. 21, in addition to a performance of “El Payaso,” a bilingual play exploring cultural and climate issues Oct. 11.

This is just a sampling of events, so I encourage you to participate in as much of IU’s National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration as you can. Not only will it benefit all of the IU family to learn more about the Latino community, but it’s also important for all of us to support our fellow students, faculty and staff by celebrating our respective heritages.

James Wimbush

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs

Indiana University

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