OMA lines up a month of Hispanic Heritage Month events

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting 30 events highlighting the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month with 30 events celebrating U.S. Hispanic and Latinx communities. 

This year’s celebration kicked off Sept. 15 with an inaugural community luncheon at the Marshall Student Center (MSC). It set apart this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration from previous years by bringing the USF community together, along with Hispanic and Latinx community members to honor their accomplishments and experiences.

One of the events taking place this year is Proud to be the first, which is a conversation about “elevating the stories of immigrants and celebrating their humanity” hosted by Yehimini Cambron, an artist, activist and public speaker. The event will take place in the MSC Oval Theater on Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. 

At the It’s Ok to Get Help event on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m., guest speaker and suicide prevention specialist Miguel Sierra will talk about destigmatizing mental health support in MSC 2708.

The Leadership Forum and Latin Empowerment Panel hosted by Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc. will be at the Oval Theater on Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. It is a panel moderated by the National Founding Father of the fraternity, Agustin “Gus” Garcia, and will consist of notable Latinx leaders.

Every year, the USF Status of Latinos Committee recognizes students, faculty and leaders who have contributed to the community through academic research and acts of service at an awards breakfast ceremony. The event will be in the MSC Ballroom on Oct. 6 at 9 a.m.

The Poetry Workshop and Lunch with guest speaker Melania Luisa Marte will be in MSC 3707 on Oct 6 at 6 p.m. There will be free lunch and an interactive poetry experience, where Marte will be sharing the intersectionality between being a Dominican writer.

The Future Latinx Leaders Networking event, co-sponsored by the USF Foundation and Alumni Association, will take place Oct. 12 at 5:50 p.m. During the event, students will engage in a networking event to connect with alumni, the Alumni Foundation and community partners. 

Nuñez also talked about The Enlightenment Workshop Series which is designed to further promote a culture of inclusivity at USF. The first session will take place Sept. 20 under the title Freedom of Speech vs. Academic Freedom: The Cost of Self-Expression at noon over Microsoft Teams.

OMA’s annual Queer, Trans, People of Color and Coffee chat will be Sept. 22 in MSC 330. The chat will center around the unique experiences of queer Latinx students.

Nuñez also hopes to highlight the experiences of Afro-Latina, Black and brown women at the poetry workshop taking place Oct. 6 to highligt narratives of intersection of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender, according to Nuñez. 

The main goal for Hispanic Heritage Month is to instill a sense of pride, or “orgullo,” about the Hispanic community, according to Nuñez.

“Latinx/Hispanic people are special people,” Nuñez said. “We are resilient, determined, committed and take pride in our language, our stories and our lived experiences. This month will provide everyone at USF and in the surrounding community to immerse themselves in the beautiful aspects of our cultura.” 

Through this month, Nuñez expressed the desire of providing students, staff, faculty and the Tampa Bay community with the opportunity to become enriched with cultural perspective, awareness and understanding of the Latinx/Hispanic experience. 

She hopes the month allows people who are not of Latinx or Hispanic descent to expand their cultural understanding of the diverse and multi-layered identities that encompass the heritage. 

“As you learn, you can become aware about our culture,” she said. “Education is key in developing intercultural competence skills, cross-cultural coalition building skills and extremely important to challenge stereotypes and biases about Hispanic/Latinx cultures.”