Connecting Communities: Latinx Heritage Month at Trinity

Groups on campus host events in September and October to celebrate Latinx culture

Even with Trinity’s student population being predominantly white (51.5% of the student population identifies as white and 30.6% as Latinx), Latinx culture surrounds the school. Americanization has tried to silence Latinx culture in the U.S. in past centuries, through redrawing the US-Mexico border at the Rio Grande river, and resistance to the use of Latinx languages in society. Despite these challenges, Latinx culture connects many people today.

Latinx Heritage Month starts Sept. 15 and lasts through Oct. 15. With over a quarter of the student population identifying as Latinx, there are many events being held to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month on campus.

“Trinity needs to engage with all students so they can learn more about Latinx heritage. It’s a way of educating, and it’s a way of celebrating,” Abreu-Torres said.

To celebrate and honor Latinx culture, there are many events scheduled for September and October, hosted and organized by numerous on-campus organizations and sponsors like the MAS program, the Student Diversity and Inclusion Office (SDIO) and the Trinity University Latino Association (TULA). Latinx Heritage Month kicked off in full force on Sept. 15 with food, games and prizes from Latinx vendors at the Coates Esplanade.

Other events during the month include a screening of the film “Backstreet to the American Dream” on Sept. 22. This documentary investigates how street food connects cultures, and will also feature a Q&A with the filmmaker Patricia Nazario after the screening. Sept. 26 brings a book presentation and signing of “Somewhere We Are Human,” a collection of essays, poems and artwork by people affected by immigration. Co-editors Reyna Grande and Sonia Guiñansaca and contributor Dr. Rita Urquijo-Ruiz will be at the event. On Oct. 4, Trinity will host an alumni panel about “Being Latina at Trinity University” at the Holt Center to connect with the current Latina population on campus.

Ending the month on Oct. 20 is a showcase celebrating Latinx heritage called “Viva las Americas,” hosted by the Trinity University Latino Association (TULA).

To make the events occurring this month possible, the planning process for Latinx heritage month started this past summer. TULA, a student-led organization, gauged student feedback on what people wanted to be incorporated into the event. Adam Garza, junior neuroscience major and TULA president, helped facilitate this change.

“‘Viva las Americas’ is a celebration of Latinx students here at Trinity, and a way to spread our heritage. Latinx Heritage Month in itself focuses on the education of our culture through the different events throughout the month,” Garza said. TULA’s Instagram @tulatinoassociation has more information about club meetings and scheduled events.

Adrian Herrera, junior engineering science major and TULA vice president, believes that Trinity is doing more to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month than in his past years at Trinity.

“I feel like in previous years [celebrating Latinx Heritage month] wasn’t as much of a commitment but now through more [scheduled] events to celebrate, it shows that Trinity is doing more to incorporate culture that is important to the student body,” Herrera said.

Latinx Heritage Month events encourage students to view the world beyond the “Trinity bubble,” and learn about cultures different from their own.

“Our main objective in the MAS program is to bring the Latinx experience to the students here at Trinity,” Abreu-Torres said.

With the coming of Wilson Terrell as the associate vice president for inclusive excellence this past May, and Kaila Campos as the new SDIO coordinator this year, Trinity has more resources for the diverse student population. This results in more people who can promote the exchange of culture within the Trinity community.

“My hope is that we establish a way and system and guideline[s] on how to do this [celebrate culture] every year,” Abreu-Torres said.

Abreu-Torres would also love to see how the events planned during this month can expand. “My other hope is that students can foster an exchange of service through Latinx Heritage Month to the greater San Antonio community.” Including volunteer work during Latinx Heritage Month with Trinity’s community partners so students are closer to the local San Antonio area.

Abreu-Torres, is one of many people on campus who thinks Latinx Heritage Month is important to celebrate on campus. “There’s no way around it. The Latinx community is growing here [in San Antonio] and it’s essential for Trinity to celebrate Latinx heritage.” Abreu-Torres said. “All students can learn more about Hispanic heritage.” According to Abreu-Torres, Many students may not know about their own Latinx culture, and through heritage month events students can learn about their own history or end the stereotypes people outside the Latinx community have.