Hispanic Heritage Month originated as a celebration of the Hispanic communities who are largely responsible for several contributions to American society. It is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year and was first introduced in June of 1968 as a commemorative, week-long celebration by California Congressman George E. Brown. The Herald recently interviewed several Hispanic and Latine students on Meredith’s campus to get their perspective on this important month.
In regards to what Hispanic Heritage Month means for them, Amanda Duran, ’23, stated, “I grew up loving who I am and loving who I come from. That being said, I always loved sharing parts of my culture with people and I still do! Hispanic Heritage Month gives me a chance to share what I love about being me!” Similar sentiments were shared by Daniela Cruz Reyes, ’23. She explained, “I'm often reminded of my parents' sacrifices in order to provide us with the American dream.”
On Sept. 15, Meredith College announced in an Instagram post that they are “being intentional in acknowledging cultural commemorations'" on their social media. However, not all students felt that the post was beneficial. Charlie Hatch, ’23, described the College’s post as “a perfect example of performative activism.” They explained that they feel the lack of support Hispanic and Latine students receive in academics as well as in situations where their identities are threatened makes the College’s words ineffective. “Until the institution itself fully embraces and protects Hispanic and Latine people, I will never take their posts or their words seriously,” she said. Duran echoed these concerns, saying that they have not felt supported by Meredith as an institution due to the lack of accountability for students who make insensitive comments about Hispanics and Latines.
Hatch touched on how difficult it can be for members of the Hispanic and Latine community to simplify these emotions into a few sentiments, saying, “These months signal that the United States has somewhat acknowledged that it has oppressed our people both domestically and internationally. However, the U.S. continues to create these months so it doesn't have to go through the laboring process of creating legislation that protects our communities.”
All three students agreed that Meredith could and should be doing more to celebrate and support Hispanic and Latine students. Duran suggested that Meredith open their platform up to students to share these important experiences. Cruz Reyes explained, “We’re almost at the end of the month and haven't seen any [other] posts from Meredith.'' She believed that including additional posts of Hispanic and Latine culture, accomplishments and heritage would allow people to learn more.
By Aminah Jenkins and Rachel Van Horne, Associate Editors