BY VERONES A. PADILLA
SC Staff Writer
Hispanic Heritage Month, which is from September 15 through October 15, was created in 1968 when Congress approved a public law to honor the Independence Day of several Latin American countries throughout Central and South America, according to HispanicHeritageMonth.gov.
It began as only one week of observances and ceremonies, eventually extending to a 30-day period in 1988.
Each year, Americans gather to celebrate the culture, history, and significant historical contributions the Hispanic community has made in the United States.
At East Stroudsburg University, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) joins with members of the Latin American Association (LAA) to create a calendar of events free for ESU students. They feature ethnic food, music, performances, and panel discussions.
Cornelia Sewell, coordinator of multicultural affairs at ESU, has created a committee of both students and faculty to create a full month of educational and entertaining programs.
Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off with a panel discussion featuring Latina Women in education on September 14, in Lower Dansbury from 2-4 PM. Among the panelists will be ESU’s Dr. Annie Mendoza, of the language department, Jessica Santiago, of student support services, and Jennifer Castro, Assistant Director of Admissions.
In addition to women in higher education, the panel will include Carolina Velasquez, a family development specialist of the Bethlehem School District, and Saira Ayala, a fifth grade teacher at The Lehigh Valley Duel Languages Charter School.
“The panel discussion will highlight the triumphs and struggles of these women, as well as give the students an opportunity to ask [the panelists] questions about how they got to be where they are” said Sewell.
On September 15th, Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority Incorporated, a multicultural Greek letter organization, will host “Meet The Greeks,” a program designed to give a platform for other minority and multicultural organizations.
On September 17, in Stroud Hall 117, CEO of Cool Speak, and Motivational Speaker, Carlos Ojeda Jr. will be speaking about staying positive through struggles and how students can stay motivated and strive for excellence.
Every Tuesday and Thursday starting September 19, the Foreign Language Department will host the first annual Latino Film Festival in Beers Hall at 7 PM. The first film being screened will be Negro, a documentary series exploring the color complex of the Latino Culture.
OMA has also planned a Zumba Tasting in conjuction with The Recreational Center and Latin dance lessons with the dance group Pura Essencia, the Latin Explosion Party.
The full list of events, times, and places can be found on OMA’s Hispanic Heritage Month flyers or on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ESUOMA/events.
Amber Rodriguez, a sister of Mu Sigma Upsilon added, “We look forward to Hispanic Heritage Month, it is important for us to be involved in all aspects of campus life, whether it be helping another organization on campus or hosting an educational workshop, it all makes a difference.”
“We encourage our students to come and support. It’s for everybody to come out and have fun,” said Sewell.
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