Latinx Heritage month is a time to celebrate and pay homage to the Latinx communities and their important contributions to society. It also gives people who do not identify as Latinx a new perspective on the different cultures throughout Latin America.
La Fuerza Latina is starting the dialogue on Drake University’s campus to inform the Latinx community, on and off campus, about AfroLatinidad and why it matters.
La Fuerza Latina is a multicultural organization at Drake that provides a safe space for students in solidarity with the Latinx community. They kicked off Latinx heritage month with a TED Talk, discussing the experiences of Afro-Latinxs within the Latinx community.
Angelica Reyes, senior and president of La Fuerza Latina, explained why it was important to talk about AfroLatinidad.
“Over the summer, we tried to coordinate an event with the other organizations on campus where we would touch on the protests that were happening,” Reyes said. “I thought it was very important to have representation and diverse perspectives just because the Latinx experience is usually seen through one lens, and I think it’s very important that we see it through every lens whether it be Afro-Latinx or any other kind.”
La Fuerza Latina aims to shed light on how much Afro-Latinxs have influenced Latin culture and the anti-Blackness within the Latinx community. They said people who fall under this intersection of race and ethnicity are underrepresented and oftentimes erased from the general conversation.
Anthony Arroyo, senior and public relations officer for La Fuerza Latina, echoed Reyes’ response.
“I think that people in general are just not informed on the fact that Black people in Latin America exist, and sometimes they even just kind of ignore that,” Arroyo said. “It’s just a good thing to educate people, so they know that the same issues of colorism happening here in America are happening in Latin America too.”
Led by Denisse Lopez, senior and treasurer of La Fuerza Latina, the TED Talk touched on the badly kept secret of anti-Blackness in the Latinx community and how conflicting the intersection of being both Latina and Black was for her growing up.
“In the Latino community, there is a lot of anti-Blackness, and it’s really prevalent,” Lopez said. “Growing up in that intersection where you are both Latina and Black is very conflicting and causes a lot of internal confusion with just trying to figure out where your place is in the society you live in.”
Lopez believes it is critical to talk about this because of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Right now especially is very critical to talk about these things because with the Black Lives Matter movement happening, one of the guiding principles is that all Black lives matter,” Lopez said. “We’re fighting for the lives of all Black people, and that includes those of us within the Latinx community.”
La Fuerza Latina is hoping to continue the conversation about the Latinx experience on campus by sharing information on their social media and having more events. Their next event will be the sixth annual La Fuerza Latina Banquet at 8 p.m. Oct. 10 in upper Olmsted’s Parents Hall.
To keep up to date with La Fuerza Latina’s on-campus events, visit their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram under “LaFuerzaLatinaDrake.”