Indiana Daily Student

IU's La Casa to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with online events

<p>The outside of the La Casa Latino Cultural Center is seen Jan. 12. It is located at 715 E. 7th St. </p>

The outside of the La Casa Latino Cultural Center is seen Jan. 12. It is located at 715 E. 7th St.

This year, La Casa Latino Cultural Center partnered with Latino cultural centers of other universities, academic student organizations and Bloomington organizations to celebrate Latinx heritage month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The events will take place on Zoom and cover topics on Latinx life and culture.

What began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 was lengthened to a month in 1988 by former President Ronald Reagan. Nationally, organizations, including those at IU, have begun to refer to this month as Latinx Heritage Month in favor of better inclusivity. 

“We’ve really been trying to work with people to try to get a larger audience this year,” La Casa director Lillian Casillas said. 

The Latino Studies Program, assisted by Solimar Otero, professor of folklore and ethnomusicology, will put on two events on Latinx identity during this period.

The first event, Racial Scripts and Immigrant Communities: How Covid-Fueled Sinophobia Affects Us All, will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 8. It will feature Natalia Molina, historian and professor of American studies and ethnicity at the university of Southern California. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Race, Migration, and Indigeneity Program. 

The second event, Community Memories: Quince Años Traditions as Community History, will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 14. Rachel González, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will talk about her book, “Coming Out Latina: Quinceañera Style and Latina/o Consumer Identities.”

Community members will be invited to share their experiences and quinceañera dresses. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, La Casa and the City of Bloomington.

Both events will be onZoom and interested participants must RSVP and receive a link by emailing latino@indiana.edu

“This term Latinx is always changing because it’s not one population. It's multiple nationalities, multiple generations, multiple backgrounds of indigeneity,” Otero said. “There’s so many groups that go into that one label, so it’s really hard to find one box.” 

Those who identify as Latinx have roots in a country that is in Latin or Central America. This covers a large area of several countries that have varying sub-cultures, dialects and traditions.

“It’s so much more than the language,” said Natalia River, board member of the Latinx Law Student Association. 

Those who are Puerto Rican, including Rivera, are also American citizens. The Latinx Law Student Association is putting on an event at 7 p.m. Sept. 17, A Conversation on Puerto Rican Identity, to address the lack of specific inclusion in Latinx and American identity discourse due to the overlap.

Law student Nahomi Matos Rondón will speak on her experiences on the intersectionality of being Afro-Latina and Puerto Rican in America. This event will be held via Zoom and interested participants must RSVP by emailing The Latinx Law Student Association – llsa@iu.edu.

Casillas encourages those who are not Latinx but are interested in learning more about the community to interact with La Casa and other local community groups. 

“The programming that we do is not just for Latinos, it’s for everybody. When you show up to support our programming, it shows that you care, and having that support means a lot,” said Casillas. “You’re part of IU, we’re part of IU, it is for you.” 

Otero and Rivera also encourage allies to advocate for those who are Latinx to educate themselves and others about the culture. 

“Be an advocate,” Otero said. “Be aware that a lot of folks are having to live in the shadows.”

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