Latinx Heritage Month, Latin American Studies Week underway

| Denise Olson

On Monday, Sept. 16, the UW-Eau Claire campus will kick off more than six weeks of festivities and programs to recognize Latinx Heritage Month and Latin American Studies Week. With a lineup of events that has grown year after year, the Office of Multicultural Affairs invites students, faculty, staff and area community members to take part in festivities, presentations and discussions designed to highlight the beauty of Latin heritage, as well as to shed light on relevant topics that require better understanding.  

The faculty, staff and students of OMA are excited to present this first of several campus cultural recognition months that take place over the course of the academic year.

"Latinx Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the beautiful traditions and cultures of Latinx people whose heritage draws from multiple countries that make up Latin America," says Diana Martinez Zarate, OMA associate student services coordinator. "We recognize that a single month cannot contain the nuance and complexity of these diverse cultures, but through these planned events, it is our goal to educate and to remind our UWEC community members that Latinx heritage is American heritage, and that their perspectives, experiences and needs must be taken into account when we make decisions related to policy, to curriculum and to resource allocation." 

This year's slate of events, open to campus and community members, includes:

  • Thursday, Sept 19: Forum Series opener, Olga Custudio — first Latina U.S. fighter pilot — 7:30 p.m., Schofield Auditorium.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 24: Afro-Latinx Social — 5-8 p.m., Riverfront Terrace.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 1: "What Is Latinx?" student forum — 4-6 p.m., OMA Resource Center.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 9: Sabor Latin[EAU] banquet — 5-7 p.m., Ojibwe Ballroom, Davies Center. RSVP here.

See the full 2019 Lantinx Heritage Month schedule

Coinciding with Latinx Heritage Month each year is the campus celebration of Latin American Studies Week, a celebration that highlights the culture, history, politics, economies and peoples of Latin America. LAS Week is also a time to celebrate Blugold successes, share research and disseminate information about UW-Eau Claire's Latin American Studies program. 

“While our students in the Latin American Studies program do learn about the people of Latin American heritage within the U.S. and their histories here, the events of our LAS Week focus on the people and cultures in Latin America,” says Dr. Manny Fernandez, director of the Latin American Studies program. “We use LAS Week to help inform students at UW-Eau Claire about our program, which offers as much Spanish learning experience as a Spanish major for those hoping to develop language proficiency. But the LAS certificate or the LAS culture and society emphasis does not include language courses.” 

The events presented by the Latin American studies program are: 

  • Monday, Oct. 7, 4-5:30 p.m., Centennial 1415: "Eradicating Peace: The Other Side of the Colombian War on Drugs." Witness for Peace speaker Leider Valencia, the Colombian national coordinator of the Growers of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana, will discuss peace efforts in the region and how the U.S. can play a role.
  • Monday, Oct. 21, 5:30-8 p.m., Ojibwe Grand Ballroom, Davies Center: LAS Week Dinner and Keynote Speaker. The event will feature Alejandro Velasco, associate professor at New York University and author of "Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela."
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1-2:30 p.m., Ojibwe 330A, Davies Center: Student panel on the summer 2019 Argentina faculty-led international immersion experience.

For more detail about LAS Week events, see the program flyer.

For more information about Latin American studies events, contact Dr. Manny Fernandez at fernanm@uwec.edu or 715-836-2390.