More than three weeks of activities began on Tuesday, Sept. 15, as Ferris State University’s Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center and Office of Multicultural Student Services, in collaboration with other campus partners, began a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center Director Kaylee Moreno-Burke said she is proud of the Hispanic Heritage Month’s planning committee’s efforts.
“This year, we accepted a challenge to develop a schedule that would highlight and celebrate the diaspora of the Latinx community,” Moreno-Burke said. “This was accomplished by highlighting different narratives that often aren’t talked about in Latinx community, the LGBTQ+/AfroLatinx/DACA & Undocumented stories, while celebrating the diversity and achievements the Latinx community has made with Ferris students, faculty, staff and broader community.”
The first event was a Sept. 15 showing of “The Unafraid,” a 2018 documentary on three students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, who were denied entry from top institutions in Georgia, and could not qualify for in-state tuition at others. The movie is part of the Grand Rapids Latin-American Film Festival, a virtual event co-sponsored by Ferris.
Moreno-Burke said the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia arranged a schedule of four virtual tours that illustrate the interconnectedness of the Latinx, Afro Latinx and African American communities.
“We are very glad to have the support and collaboration of the museum staff, and the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Office that made these tours possible,” Moreno-Burke said. “These tours are offered at midmorning and the early afternoon through Wednesday, Oct. 7.”
The United Greek Council and the Hispanic Student Organization are partners in a LatinXpo on Tuesday, Sept. 22, which will be available at 6:30 p.m. through Easy Virtual Fair. Moreno-Burke said narratives from immigrant and Latin American country customs are an important part of this event.
“Students and our campus guests will be able to learn a great deal about Latinx nations, and broaden their base of information about their cultures,” Moreno-Burke said.
The Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center joins Alumni Relations and the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services hosting events during HOMEcoming 2020. A Loteria Happy Hour will take place Tuesday, Sept. 29, a discussion on “Afro Latinx Narratives in Higher Education” is set for Wednesday, Sept. 30, with both events to begin at 6 p.m. A campus-based discussion on “LGBTQ+, Latinxs & COVID-19” will wrap up that week’s schedule on Thursday, Oct. 1.
“We are pleased to have the support of guest contributors Allison Roman, Verónica Rodríguez-Mendez and Dr. Ariana Vargas on Wednesday evening,” Moreno-Burke said. “Their experiences on navigating Afro-Latinadad identity should be valuable information for our audience. On Thursday, Sarah Doherty, of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, and I, will lead a discussion, after reviewing segments from a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute/CHCI Alumni webinar on LGBTQ+, Latinxs and COVID-19, from June of this year.”
She added that on Sept. 30, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning will host a 2 p.m. workshop on supporting Latinx students in the classroom and beyond, which will be facilitated by Gina Ann Garcia, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a leading scholar on Hispanic-serving institutions.
“We encourage faculty to participate in this event,” Moreno-Burke said. “Ms. Garcia can offer a most insightful perspective on education, as it relates to the Latinx community. Her organizational framework can help Ferris work on the graduation gap that is present for this growing student group on campus.”
Other organizations supporting in presenting Hispanic Heritage Month include the Department of English, Literature and World Languages, the Cygnets Official Interest of Gamma Phi Omega National Sorority Inc. and the University Recreation Center. Moreno-Burke said links for virtual events can be found on the OMSS pages or on CLS and OMSS’ social media platforms.