In conjunction with the nation’s Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of the various racial and cultural identities encompassed by “Hispanic” Sept. 19-Nov. 1, UW-Madison will celebrate Latin@/Chican@ Heritage Month with more than a dozen events hosted by the Office of the Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer in partnership with more than a dozen campus and community partners.
This year’s theme is the result of broad campus collaboration. “Celebrating Identities,” goes to the heart of diversity within the Hispanic community, said Philip Denis, a campus and community liaison for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement’s Pathways to Educational Achievement program.
Exposure to culture, rather its growth in one’s own or learning about the cultures of others, is an important part of the Wisconsin experience, Denis said.
“On a predominantly white campus it’s important for cultures to be celebrated and appreciated, as well as providing an array of students with a sense of identity and connection. It also provides students from every background the opportunity to engage in different experiences.”
The community-wide observation includes Centro Hispano’s Fiesta Hispana on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and later that evening at 7:30 p.m. when the 12th Annual World Music Festival combines with the Willy Street Fair to feature Sierra Maestra and other Latin/Cuban music.
Super Mercado Latino will officially launch the UW-Madison campus celebration on Monday, Sept. 28, in the Gordon Commons Event Center, 770 W. Dayton St., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. This largest “super market” fair is also considered the campus Latin@ Chican@ welcome featuring Latin@ and Chican@ student and community organizations. Student participants can interact and network while learning more about participation and membership with Bucky and free food. Chicago’s very own Gwen la Roka will be the featured comedian for the evening.
The keynote event will be “Immigration, Trans* Rights and Challenging Obama: An Evening with Jennicet Gutierrez,” a Latina activist, on Thursday, Oct. 8, in the On Wisconsin Room of the Red Gym. 716 Langdon Street. Gutiérrez, a transgender woman, is a passionate LGBTQ rights activist and the co-founder of Familia, a ‘trans queer liberation movement’ and is the woman who interrupted Obama’s speech during an event honoring LGBT Pride Month. She has spoken out about the moment that propelled her into the global spotlight.
On Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. the Gammas at MEChA House will host a self-identity workshop that includes discussion and painting as a form of self-expression.
On Thursday, Oct. 1, the celebration will turn to Race in Modern America: A Lecture by Professor Ian Haney López and book signing at 6 p.m. in Room 2211 of the Law School Building. Professor Ian Haney Lopez is the John H. Boalt Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He works in the areas of racial justice and American law. His newest book is Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. He will be discussing race and the law around the theme of this new book which addresses dog whistle appeals to generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services.
As part of the larger UW-Madison Homecoming Celebration, the Taste of Identities Festival will a special series of events hosted by a team of student organizations on Friday, Oct. 16, and Saturday, Oct. 17. The two-day event with offer workshops including:
- Multicultural Alumni Welcome Reception, Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Pres House on the East Campus Mall at State Street;
- Homecoming Game Watch Party, Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Union South Marquee Theatre;
- Cotito Afro-Peruvian Percussion Workshop, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Festival Room. Don’t miss this full hands-on workshop with the ability for students to play and learn percussions while learning about the history of the music and instruments.
- Afro Cuban Dance Workshop, Saturday at 4:30 p.m.in the Memorial Union Festival Room. This is a dance workshop plus a full-on dialogue on the African diaspora within Peru and Latin America.
- Feast and Open Mic, Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Pres House. Enjoy samples of different Latin American cuisine with an open mic during the meal.
- Cotito Live Performance: Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Play Circle will feature a live 90-minute performance with a full band and dancers and a dance party featuring deejay playing a variety of music to follow.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, PALMA Curanderismo will offer an Interactive workshop on traditional medicine and healing at the MEChA Office, 206 Bernard Court.
Other celebrations and learning events will be held throughout the month-long celebration, including:
- Latin American Caribbean Iberian Studies Lunchtime Lectures will be Sept. 15 – Dec. 8;
- Every Tuesday @ Noon @ 206 Ingraham is a series of free lectures with light snacks provided. Students and faculty have the opportunity to network and learn about resources on campus and throughout the community;
- Chican@ Latin@ Studies Open House will be Sept. 29-Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 330 Ingraham, every Tuesday at noon. CLS will coordinate the open house and kick off the Gatherings for the Fall Semester. The gathering allows for student and faculty networking. It will give interested students a perspective of what the CLS program is. It allows for students to learn about resources and programs that the university provides.
The month-long celebration will close with the Nov. 1 with Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican event. It is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed. On this day in Mexico, the streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations of papel picado , flowers, candy calaveras (skeletons and skulls), and parades.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.
For complete details on this year’s campus events, go the Latin@ Chican@ Heritage Month Facebook events page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1621143638125333/.