USC marks the end of Latinx Heritage Month with Noche de Cultura

Members of the Latinx community in Los Angeles performed celebratory dances to mark the end of Latinx Heritage Month at USC. (Milind Raj | Daily Trojan)

As many students left campus on Wednesday and headed into their fall vacation, carne asada warmed up at the Latinx Student Assembly’s Noche de Cultura, the lively and festive closing ceremony of the celebration of a month of Latinx Heritage Month by USC.

The program showcased many aspects of Latinx culture, pride and history. USC’s Mariachis Los Troyanos, USC’s official mariachi band, opened the evening on Center Stage with deep, harmonious ballads that brought the crowd together in various dance forms, and Break on 2, the first dance crew USC’s Latin Fusion carried the celebratory momentum late into the night with a series of mesmerizing performances.

Jessica Jimenez, a junior public policy student, began attending events organized by the Latinx Student Assembly to become more involved in USC’s Latino community and to find people with a background and a similar education.

“Honestly, it makes me feel like I’m still connected to my community,” Jimenez said. “Growing up, it was so hard for me to find Latino friends, so being able to easily find that community at USC is very welcoming.”

“Growing up, it was so hard for me to find Latino friends, so being able to easily find that community at USC is very welcoming.”

Jessica Jimenez, Junior Public Policy Student

Gathering such a large community required immense support from several Latinx organizations on campus. Among the clubs in attendance were La CASA, the Latino Alumni Association, the Association of Latino Professionals for America, the Spanish Undergraduate Student Association, and the USC Prison Education Project as well as many multicultural Latinx fraternities and sororities.

The event was hosted with a variety of traditional Latin foods, sweets and beverages. Birrieria Gomez and El Pollo Inka were among the local vendors supplying line after line of ecstatic guests, and the Latinx Student Assembly also maintained a constant supply of aguas frescas – jamaica, pina and horchata – as well as paletas, traditional mexican popsicles made with fresh products. fruit, to refresh everyone in the heat of the afternoon.

Recognizing the intense diversity of Latinx identities, histories and cultures on display, many installations and displays not only emphasized the stories of Latin culture, but also celebrated what binds and differentiates people within the community.

President Carol Folt also took center stage to join in the festivities, as well as provide insight into the power of the USC Latinx community’s unique identities.

“The stories really go to the heart of what makes us human. It’s something we do across cultures, it’s how we share our ideas, get to know each other, hold our memories and share our truth…we learn a lot when we do our stories,” Folt said. . “Latinx Heritage Month is the first of our cultural heritage months of the academic year. It’s wonderful, and we have many more to come. We have the chance, each time, to learn together. So in this case we learn while fighting on.”

Dancing, cooking and playing music were just a few of the ways attendees shared their stories through art. Others have used language and poetry to communicate their unique experiences as Latinx people.

One of the most powerful stories of the evening was that of keynote speaker and former Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Luis J. Rodriguez. He spoke about the current situation within the LA City Council, after recordings of ex-Councillor Nury Martinez verbally disparaging members of the Black, Indigenous and Asian communities during a closed meeting on Oct. 9. Rodriguez then slammed the board members involved. for using their language to demean other marginalized communities.

“This is a time for new words, new ways of thinking, new ways of healing. This is an opportunity in this crisis to say, ‘Can we make a new and better Los Angeles?’

Former Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriquez Keynote Speaker

“I saw the power of language and words, being able to change people’s lives, being able to reconfigure the way you think…. words can hurt people, words matter,” Rodriguez said. “This is a time for new words, new ways of thinking, new ways of healing. This is an opportunity in this crisis to say, ‘Can we create a new and better Los Angeles?’ need and we have been fighting for this for a long time.

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