In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, New Mexico State University’s Chicano Programs invites all campus members and the public to come together starting this week to join festivities honoring the Latinx community and its cultural contributions to NMSU.
Before National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Wednesday, Sept. 15, Chicano Programs will host an open house and welcome-back cookout Friday, Sept. 10, with NMSU Black Programs outside Garcia Center on the Las Cruces campus. Students can stop by the lawn area facing Chamisa Village between noon and 2 p.m. to learn about the two programs, meet staff and enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, vegetarian options and tacos from Chachi’s Mexican Restaurant.
Chicano Programs will then host “Salsa and Salsa” from noon to 2 p.m. on Sept. 15 with Black Programs, the American Indian Program and Doña Ana Community College’s LatinX Heritage Month committee. The event will feature live Zumba salsa dancing and free salsa samples from several local restaurants on the Corbett Center Student Union outdoor stage.
NMSU’s new vice president for equity, inclusion and diversity, Teresa Maria Linda Scholz, will also speak at the Sept. 15 event. This year marks the first time NMSU will commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month with a diversity leader.
“Being under Dr. Linda Scholz’s office now, I think it’s a great opportunity to continue growing and becoming more visible,” said Judith Flores Carmona, interim director of Chicano Programs. “We’re now front and center of everything we do as an institution to promote the work of equity, diversity and inclusion."
Flores Carmona said collaborating with NMSU’s other diversity programs on upcoming events was a natural fit since “we embody other identities, not just our race.”
“I think it’s so important not to box people in one category,” she added. “All the diversity programs are open to all students because we want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of students, given all of the multiple identities that they embody.”
Later this month, writer and educator Roberto Lovato will visit NMSU to give a lecture as part of a Pluriversity Imaginary Collective talk sponsored by Chicano Programs, the Honors College, the Office of the Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Stan Fulton Endowed Chair.
As a co-founder of #DignidadLiteraria, Lovato advocates for equity and literary justice for the more than 60 million Latinx persons in the United States. He also has reported on violence, terrorism, the drug war and the refugee crisis from the U.S, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Haiti and France and published an acclaimed book, “Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs and Revolution in the Americas,” in 2020.
Lovato’s talk – “Stirring the Radical Imagination: The Poet Warrior Tradition of Las Americas” – will take place at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Honors College with a limited in-person audience. To RSVP, email email@example.com. It also will be live-streamed on the Chicano Programs YouTube page.
“What I want folks to get out of National Hispanic Heritage Month is that it’s not just all about food, fun and fiestas. There’s a lot of history about who we are and the different latinidades, migrations, herstories and histories that we bring,” Flores Carmona said.
For the culmination of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Chicano Programs will host a special virtual talk from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, featuring Otakuye Conroy-Ben in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Conroy-Ben, a senior sustainability scientist and assistant professor of engineering at Arizona State University, will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields. For the connection link, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flores Carmona urges all campus members to continue learning about and celebrating the Latinx community even after National Hispanic Heritage Month ends Oct. 15.
“It shouldn’t only be one month. I think as a Hispanic-serving institution and minority-serving institution, we should continuously highlight our community cultural wealth into everything we profess,” she said.
For more information about the NMSU Chicano Program and its upcoming events, visit https://chicano.nmsu.edu.