Despite the brisk weather, a group of almost 40 students walked through campus together Thursday to promote Latino unity on IU’s campus.
This was the second Latinx IUnity Walk put on by the Latino Council, a group created to bring together Latino organizations on campus. They walked to celebrate the diversity of Latino students at IU, said senior Angelica Navarro, a Latino Council co-chair.
“A lot of countries make up Latin America,” she said. “And I think a lot of times when people think of Latinos, they just think of Mexicans. While I am Mexican, I do want to stand up for how diverse we are as a region of the world.”
Some students cloaked themselves with the flags of Latin American countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Honduras. Under the flags, they wore white.
“White is every other color,” sophomore Luis Nieves said. “It absorbs everything. Metaphorically, it’s a melting pot.”
Latino and non-Latino students were invited to join in the walk.
“We want to bring awareness that we do have a presence here at IU and to invite people to be a part of our culture and share this experience with us,” Navarro said.
Before beginning their walk, the students gathered in a circle to listen to IU Ph.D. student Gavin Mariano speak.
Mariano urged the students to recognize the power they possess when they unite, to appreciate the work of those who came before them to promote Latino culture and to take advantage of the opportunities that they have on IU’s campus.
“Tenemos el poder, everyone,” he said. “We have the power to do something, something more than just our assignments and our homework. We’re here for a reason, many of us believe, and that’s to make a difference. And a big difference is creating unity.”
Mariano said the students need to embrace and celebrate their Latino identities and the ways in which they differ from one another in order to unite as a community.
“We come from different backgrounds,” he said. “We speak different languages. We have different life experiences. We must unite, and we must conquer that division.”
Latino students make up less than 10 percent of the IU population. For this reason, Mariano said the students need to sustain the campus programs and organizations that bring them together and create more.
“We must be seen and must be heard,” he said.
He ended by leading the group in a chant.
“There is more that unites us than divides us.”
The students sang along to “Taki Taki” and “Adiós Amor” and walked their mile-long route from Forest Residence Hall to La Casa Latino Culture Center, stopping at Sample Gates for a photo.
Their flags blew in the wind as they sang along.
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