Experiencing Esperanza: Hispanic Latine Cultural Heritage Month at Emory & Henry

Students enjoyed attending the Clase de Salsa y Bachata event, as well as others offered during Latine Heritage Month at Emory & Henry College.

John Holloway

Students enjoyed attending the Clase de Salsa y Bachata event, as well as others offered during Latine Heritage Month at Emory & Henry College.

Guest Contributor, David Eldridge

Emory & Henry’s Hispanic/Latine Cultural Heritage month was hosted from September 15 to October 15 this year and featured many educational and enjoyable activities for the community.

The month’s events, titled “Esperanza: a celebration of Hispanic/Latine heritage and hope,” were brought together through the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and provided the campus with various opportunities to engage with and learn about Hispanic and Latine culture. An instructional salsa and bachata night, a Latine culture worship service, and a designated Spanish-speaking table in the cafeteria are just some of the immersive events and moments for cultural exploration students had available to them.

Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion John Holloway shared his insight on the importance of a month dedicated to Latine and Hispanic culture and heritage. “It gives us an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of the Latine and Hispanic community. It … allows us to celebrate with our Latine students here on campus, but to also allow them to come together as a community,” he said.

Planning this month of programming was a collaborative effort from various groups and departments. Holloway said, “We had some members from the world languages department, and some students from LSU (Latin Student Union), and I think we had a couple other folks from MSA (Multicultural Student Union) … and we had a representative from the Health Sciences Campus.”

This collaboration paid off in providing students with events that were lively and educational. First-year student, Dafne Michelle Aguilar Martinez, shared her experience attending the Clase de Salsa y Bachata event. “I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t know how to dance,” she laughed “but … I really had fun.”

“It’s not just because of the dance but because other people … that are not part of the Hispanic culture came to have fun, but at the same time, learn,” Martinez said.

With the fun-factor and educational value of this past month being well-received by the campus, plans are already being set for future events from the Office of DEI. Holloway said, “I’m hoping that each year we get more students to attend some of the programs, more students that want to work on developing these programs, and that each year the Heritage month gets larger and even more meaningful for our community.”

“It doesn’t stop this month either,” he said. True to the resolution, the acknowledgement and celebration of Hispanic/Latine Cultural Heritage at Emory & Henry College has not. The DEI House is hosting a Dia de Los Muertos event October 26 at 6 PM.