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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

Latinx community celebrates culture at kickoff cookout

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

By: Alexa Figueroa 🇸🇻

A crowd of students at the Latinx Heritage Month’s Kickoff Cookout dancing bachata Sept.16, 2022. (Alexa Figueroa)

Romeo Santos didn’t make a guest appearance at the Latinx Heritage Month’s Kickoff Cookout, but his musical skills did as McKeldin Mall was crowded with bachata dancers.

The Coalition of Latinx Student Organizations (CLSO) partnered with the Multicultural Involvement Community Advocacy (MICA) to host the opening event for Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept.16. Additionally, the event was co-sponsored by other Latinx organizations on campus.

The president of CLSO, Matias Cacheiro, said that they decided to make the opening event a cookout because it is a tradition.

Two people dancing bachata in McKeldin Mall on Sept.16, 2022. (Alexa Figueroa)

To reflect the Latinx community on campus, pupusas de chicharron y frijol, chips and guacamole, and empanadas de pollo y carne de res, were provided from the restaurant Cocineros.

“A lot of our traditions are rooted in food…it’s just our tradition and how we like to express ourselves,” said Briana Mercado, the Community Service Chair of the Latinx Student Union (LSU).

Traditions don’t just revolve around food. They also revolve around a display of respect, which is a common theme in the dances performed by sororities and fraternities.

Michelle Medina, a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., was one of the dancers who performed a stroke dance to show the sisterhood and respect that she has for the campus and Latinx community.

“Being able to do it at a Latin Heritage Month welcome event, means a lot because our community is already so small on campus. So events like this allow us to be a little bigger,” said Medina.

For many students who grew up in a predominantly Latinx community, coming to a predominantly white institution such as UMD makes them appreciate Hispanic heritage month more, as it used to be just another day to them.

“I've grown up around Latino people my entire life. So I'm always celebrating my culture…” said Tamara Zuniga, a History and Information Science major at UMD. “I feel like it's important to have more visibility because it's predominantly white here (at UMD)”

Tamara Zuniga posing in front of McKeldin Library on Sept.16, 2022. (Alexa Figueroa)

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