Hispanic Heritage Month with Latines Unides

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Students line up to get food from Lesly’s Taco Trunk, Photo Courtesy of Susmita Giri (’25), CHIPS

On September 26, 2021, Latines Unides, the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success (CIES), and the Student Activities Council (SAC) hosted a lunch event in collaboration with Lesly’s Taco Trunk. Students, faculty, and staff were invited to try Lesly’s burritos, tacos, tortas, quesadillas and nachos while learning more about Latines Unides’ plans for Hispanic Heritage Month, and building community around celebrating Hispanic culture. Luther’s LatinX students were given a coupon for a free taco.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized between September 15 to October 15, and is a period to celebrate Hispanic and Hispanic-American culture and achievements. Latines Unides President Evelyn Montoya (’23) was one of the organizers for the event, and believes that Hispanic Heritage Month offers important opportunities for people to interact with and appreciate Hispanic culture and food. 

 

“[It’s important to show] Luther what other cultures there are, because we are in a predominantly white institution,” Montoya said. “We are in Decorah, and there are a lot of people that can be [prejudiced] towards those cultures.” 

 

Through this event, Montoya hoped to reconnect the organization with the wider campus community, as the 2020-2021 academic year did not allow for much socializing. At the lunch, students, faculty, and staff members all sat together to share a meal and discuss the importance of Hispanic culture, perceptions of which, Montoya says, are often skewed.

 

 “There is a lack of knowledge [about] Hispanic culture, and I think a lot of students base their knowledge on stereotypes and what they have seen in the media,” Montoya said. “If you go out and ask a student about our culture in the right way, instead of asking them offensive questions, it would help [educate] a lot.”

 

Luther students appreciated the opportunity to connect with others and enjoy Lesly’s delicious food. Esther Bitijuna (’25) was in attendance at the event, and said that they enjoyed the food and were eager to learn more about Hispanic culture.

 

“I would be happy to learn more about the Hispanic culture, like what it really is,” Bitijuna said. “I hope [Latines Unides] will have some events and presentations in the future.”

 

Kim Chham (’21) also attended the event, and gained interest in the lunch event because of friends who were involved in organizing the event.

 

“I knew it was Hispanic Heritage Month and I wanted to see what everyone was doing,” Chham said. “I am curious to see what else is happening this month.” 

 

Latines Unides, SAC, and CIES are hosting several other events to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. A screening of the film “In The Heights” will be held on October 8 at 7:30 in Valders 206. For those who wish to get involved with Latines Unides, meetings are held on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. in the Union. 

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