Latinx & Caribbean History Celebration to kickoff on Sept. 29

Student-organized programming includes music, food and a culminating gala.

by Aryanna Qusba | 9/22/22 5:00am

by Hannah Li / The Dartmouth Staff

Beginning on Sept. 29, the Latinx & Caribbean History Celebration will kick off with a month of educational and cultural events planned by students, according to an email from the Office of Pluralism and Leadership. While the nationally recognized National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the email explained that “students wanted to explicitly include Caribbean in the title to recognize the ways these communities overlap and intertwine.”

The live in faculty member at La Casa — a living and learning community for Spanish language and culture — Maria Clara de Greiff explained that because many Latin American countries celebrate their independence on Sept. 15, the Latinx & Caribbean History Celebration honors the diversity and traditions of these cultures over the course of the month.

“It’s also a way of letting [those communities] know that we see them, that we acknowledge their presence, that we appreciate their cultures, that we want to learn and explore their traditions, history, everything that they do in their countries and that they bring to enrich our Dartmouth community,” de Greiff said. 

To accommodate the quarter schedule, the email also said that most events will take place in October. The kickoff celebration will take place on Sept. 29 with food and music on Shabazz lawn, according to a flier from the Latinx & Caribbean Council’s student planning committee. Monzerrath Sandoval ’25, co-chair of the committee,  said that the kickoff event will introduce other programming including a Sip and Craft event, an educational event and a culminating gala. 

Although the Employee Resource Group has been responsible in past years for organizing the programming around the Latinx & Caribbean History Celebration, this year students are the primary event organizers, according to the email statement from OPAL. Sandoval said that the student planning committee began planning in mid-July, adding that the committee obtains funding through the Special Programs and Events Committee for the most part with some support from OPAL as well.

Sandoval said that this year the theme is “Under the Same Moon,” inspired by the Mexican-American film “La misma luna.” 

“[The film] emphasizes that although we all have our different backgrounds, and each country is different, we do have the same kind of colonial roots and the same kind of culture within that,” Sandoval said.

Latinx & Caribbean Council member Alejandra Carrasco Alayo ’25 said that her participation in the Council helped in her transition to Dartmouth. With about 250 members, the Council is designed to better support Latinx students and create space for diverse communities on campus, according to Carrasco Alayo.

“Coming from Peru, the transition to this new community was a lot but I realized that the Latinx and Caribbean Council makes me feel at home,” Carrasco Alayo said. “I’ve gotten involved in the planning and social leads committee last winter and spring.”

Carrasco Alayo added that she hopes the celebration month will encourage the campus to reflect on how Latinx students bring cultural diversity and original thought to campus.

“I hope that this moment will help us to unify as a campus and remember what we are fighting for,” Carrasco Alayo said.

“We’re not just Latin or Caribbean for one month. We are Latin or Caribbean through the whole year,” Sandoval said. 

De Greiff said that the inclusive nature of the Latinx and Caribbean History Celebration does not negate the cultural specificity of different communities that identify as Latinx or Caribbean. She added she feels Latinx is an “overly broad” term.

“I feel so different from a Peruvian or Argentinian or Colombian. But we’re all seen as the same. The importance of this whole celebration is breaking up the invisibility,” de Greiff said. 

Despite differing opinions on vocabulary surrounding Latinx identities, de Greiff also highlighted the importance of uniting various communities and said she is excited about the intersectional nature of this year’s Latinx and Caribbean Heritage Month programming.

“My identity is probably different from yours. My culture is different from yours,” de Greiff said. “But here at Dartmouth we both stress, we both deal with anxiety, we both deal with loneliness. We have so many things in common.” 

Carrasco Alayo added how she hopes to see her club expand this fall.

“I hope that during this month, people will see the beauty of Latinx communities on campus,” Carrasco Alayo said. “I feel very proud to be Peruvian, to be Latina and to be here.”