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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

Latinx community celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with Cookout

By Stella Canino-Quiñones 🇵🇷

Students grabbing food at the Kickoff Cookout on Sept.15, 2023. (Stella Canino-Quiñones)

The Coalition of Latinx Student Organizations (CLSO) and Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy Office (MICA) held an opening cookout event for Hispanic Heritage Month in Mckeldin Mall on Friday.

The cookout formed part of the series of events organized by the various campus and student organizations which aims to celebrate and spread cultural awareness regarding the Latinx community.

The cookout was sponsored by various departments and student organizations.

The event served chicken, steak, and veggie tacos with horchata and other refreshments catered by Cocineros, a local Latin American eatery. The aromas attracted onlookers and Latinx members alike on the sunny day.

Students distributing food from Cocineros at the Kickoff Cookout on Sept.15, 2023. (Stella Canino-Quiñones)

Alice Fisher, a government and politics and Persian studies major, was invited by a friend. Fisher had little knowledge of the Heritage Month. However, she had friends who were a part of the community and knew a past resident assistant involved in organizing events in her dorm.

The cookout included games like Jenga, Connect Four, and cornhole. Students danced to latinx music ranging from reggaeton to salsa.

One of the highlights was the strolling of three Latinx Greek life organizations.

Amy Rivera forms part of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc. and graduated from the university this past spring. Rivera returned to campus to support her sorority and celebrate her roots.

“Especially going to a PWI, it’s really a time to showcase our culture and our spirit on campus, she said. “And even though we’re a small population, we’re still here.”

The Hispanic/Latinx students made up 10% of the undergraduate population and 5% of the graduate student population last fall, according to the UMD Undergraduate and Graduate Student Profile published in April 2023.

The theme chosen for this year’s month is Creciendo con Amor, meaning growing with love in Spanish.

It’s meant to reflect the growth and advancement seen on campus and the activism pushed by students, according to Alex Mullen, the Latinx student involvement coordinator for MICA. The theme also embraces the love inside the community that has created a safe space on campus, he said.

“I hope for students that it’s a really empowering event. For me, It’s just so meaningful students dance bachata or listen to reggaeton on a campus that has a very long history of violence and displacement,” he said.

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