Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month beginning this week with a variety of activities, incorporating everything from music and art to culture, history and food.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a way of celebrating not only our past, but our present and future,” said Dr. Debbie Lee-DiStefano, professor of Spanish language and culture. “The contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our region and nation have helped make it the thriving success that it is. Southeast is a very diverse and inclusive campus and celebrates our students of all backgrounds. Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes our students and community for all they have done and will continue to do.”
Hispanic Heritage Month is also an opportunity for students to share their culture and experiences and to build supportive networks.
This will also be the fourth year the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity has coordinated activities and events to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month at Southeast. The celebration of Hispanic Heritage in the U.S. started with a week-long commemoration, which was first proclaimed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 after being established by a legislation sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal. It was extended to a 30-day period from Sept.15-Oct. 15 by a legislation underwritten by Rep. Esteban E. Torres under President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
“When I was a student, I sought to find other fellow Hispanics and Latinos that could relate to my experiences,” said Dulce Maldonado Muñoz, Southeast Admissions counselor and a member of the Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee. “Having these festivities is a great way to meet fellow Hispanics and get that sense of belonging to a niche within our Student Organization of Latinos.”
Upcoming events and entertainment include the following:
Through Oct. 28: “Arte Cubano”: The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum hosts the exhibit “Arte Cubano,” which highlights a universally agreed-upon characteristic of the island’s art — an incredible diversity. Cuban art is so rich in large part because of its diverse cultural blend of African, European and Latin/Caribbean influences. Add to these traditional roots the revolution of 1959, and Cuban art occupies a unique aesthetic place in the contemporary art world.
Sept. 7, 4-8 p.m.: Taste of Cuba: The Crisp Museum hosts a First Friday opening reception for “Arte Cubano” serving cuisines representing the diaspora of African, Cuban, Caribbean and Spanish cultures.
Sept. 14, 6 p.m.: Free Latin Dance Lessons: The Student Activities Council (SAC) encourages the Southeast community to learn how to get that Latin swing. Salsa will be the focus of this session in the University Center Ballroom. Tango, merengue, cumbia and bachata will be taught at future sessions.
Sept. 16, 5-8 p.m.: Tacos at Twilight: The Southeast community is invited to Capaha Park Pavilion 3 to have some tacos and celebrate the contributions Hispanics have brought to U.S. culture and its economy. Tacos will be served until they are gone.
Sept. 25, 6-9 p.m.: Film Screening: “Power to the Powerless: Dolores Huerta”: Dr. Indi Braden, professor of agronomy, plant and soil science, along with Southeast students Kyleen May and Kim Thole, will broach the topic of migrant labor through a film screening about Dolores Huerta. Huetra was an equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez and continues to fight for civil and labor rights at 87 years old. This event will be held in the John and Betty Glenn Auditorium in the Robert A. Dempster Hall.
Sept. 26, noon-1 p.m.: Kent Library Athenaeum Series: “Hispanic Heritage Kahoot! Challenge with KaHoot!”: Lee-Di Stefano will facilitate a fun challenge regarding Hispanic Heritage in Sadie’s Place in Kent Library. Refreshments will be served.
Sept. 28, 6 p.m.: Film Screening: “Buena Vista Social Club”: In conjunction with the “Arte Cubano exhibition,” the Crisp Museum and Dr. Kimberly Louie, associate professor of Spanish, will present a screening of “The Buena Vista Social Club.” This documentary film, directed by Wim Wenders, follows the journey of Ry Cooder through Cuba on a quest to rediscover a group of musicians to tell their story, film their performances together and capture the music of the island.
Sept. 28, 6 p.m.: “The Art of Wilfredo Lam: A Visual Journey through the Complexity of Cuban Identity”: In conjunction with the “Arte Cubano” exhibition, the Crisp Museum and Lee-DiStefano present a discussion on the works of Wilfredo Lam, providing an overview of the significance of his artwork and the complexity of his vision.
Sept. 30, 6 p.m.: Hispanic Heritage Month Dinner: The Student Organization of Latinos (SOL) and the Baptist Student Center (BSC) host a celebratory dinner with delicious Latin American cuisine. The Southeast community is invited to enjoy the food and good company at the Baptist Student Center.
Oct. 5, 7 p.m.: Music Concert: The Crisp Museum hosts a concert to compliment the “Arte Cubano” exhibition. The concert will feature Southeast faculty and students performing music by Cuban composers and music inspired by Cuba’s vibrant culture.
Oct. 5, 6 p.m.: Free Latin Dance Lessons: SAC encourages the Southeast community to learn how to get that Latin swing. Tango will be the focus of this session at the American Legion Hall, located at 2731 Thomas Drive in Cape Girardeau. Merengue, cumbia and bachata will be taught at future sessions.
Oct. 17, 6 p.m.: Free Latin Dance Lessons: SAC encourages the Southeast community to learn how to get that Latin swing. Merengue and cumbia will be the focus of this session in the University Center Ballroom. Bachata will be taught at a future session.
Nov. 2, 6 p.m.: Free Latin Dance Lessons: SAC encourages the Southeast community to learn how to get that Latin swing. Bachata will be the focus of this session in the University Center Ballroom
Dec. 7, 6 p.m.: Latino Night: SAC invites the Southeast community to a night of dancing, crafts and food in the University Center Ballroom
For more information about Southeast’s Hispanic Heritage Month, visit http://www.semo.edu/hispanic-latino/index.html.