by TARYN RIPPLE
Every September, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month. During this time, the culture, history and achievements of the Hispanic community are recognized and celebrated.
To honor the occasion, La Fuerza Latina of Drake University will be hosting several events throughout the month to honor and appreciate Hispanic culture. On Sept. 9, the group kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month and held their first informational meeting of the year. Among the celebratory activities for this month are a dance class and a movie and paletas event.
The group will wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month with their annual La Fuerza Latina Banquet. The banquet is an opportunity for students to enjoy live music and a feast prepared by local Latinx restaurants. It is also the time that La Fuerza Latina awards a scholarship to a first year student to help support them and their studies.
La Fuerza Latina President Aileen Acosta shared her thoughts on the group’s goal as an organization and what they hope to accomplish at Drake.
“Our mission is to empower Latinx students and allies on campus,” Acosta said. “We want to enrich them with knowledge and get them the resources they need to excel in their career.”
Acosta also said that she hopes to see more student support not just for La Fuerza Latina, but for other multicultural organizations on campus as well. She would like the Drake student body to give these groups the recognition they deserve for all that they do for the student body.
Junior Daniela Silva said that she was inspired to become involved in La Fuerza Latina because of her background and Latin heritage. Growing up, Silva lived in a predominantly white community and often felt unseen or underrepresented.
“Coming to Drake and joining La Fuerza Latina gave me an opportunity to build a community and share my heritage with others,” Silva said.
Silva said that she is excited for the activities La Fuerza Latina has planned for the coming month. She is most looking forward to meeting with activist Dolores Huerta and hearing her speak about her achievements.
Silva also shared her thoughts on the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month. She said it is imperative that the Latinx community is recognized, especially in today’s social climate.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor people from all different Latinx backgrounds,” Silva said. “I think that’s an important part worth celebrating.”
Acosta hopes to celebrate and draw more attention to the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month through La Fuerza Latina. She is focused on building communities and learning from one another to honor Hispanic heritage and culture.
“It’s important because you get to acknowledge and celebrate the great communities that come from Hispanic backgrounds,” Acosta said of Hispanic Heritage Month. “When you celebrate something like this, you acknowledge not only your own heritage but other people’s culture, heritage and traditions. That’s the fascinating part; I think that brings people together and builds communities.”