”Where I’m from, we have Hispanic heritage all year long,” said Andres Martinez, a junior studying software engineering.
Sept, 15 – Oct. 15 of every year, National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place. The purpose of this month is to recognize the past, present and future contributions of Hispanic Americans within the United States.
Each year that National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated, there is a different theme.
According to the National Council, this year’s theme is Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.
Spreading awareness of this month helps show the important contributions that the Hispanic and Latino community have made, and to know the current discrimination many of them still face.
“I don’t think there is much discrimination here in Rexburg because of the Church’s teachings, but out there … it’s a hunt against us,” said Sebastian Arteaga, a senior studying political science.
Several students have agreed with Arteaga in regards to not experiencing any discrimination on campus, but have expressed ways that BYU-I could better incorporate inclusivity on campus.
“They could probably do more cultural activities regarding Hispanic culture,” Martinez said. “Not just dancing — because believe it or not, there are many Hispanics who don’t dance.”
There are weekly Latin dances offered at Gator Jacks, with dance classes that offer salsa and bachata. There aren’t many other spaces dedicated for the Hispanic and Latino community.
This month of celebration brings comfort to those students who have come a long way to be here at BYU-I, which can be hard to get accustomed to.
“Everyone needs help and love, especially if they have no family close to them,” said Michael Wilkins, a freshman majoring in marriage and family studies. “We become their family, and I love it.”
Since Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1988, there have been several traditions that the Hispanic community celebrate whether it be on the community or individual level.
Some of these traditions that are common among the Hispanic community are: Day of the Dead, quinceañeras and piñatas.
Vanessa Perez expressed that her family growing up would celebrate all of these traditions, including having Christmas on Dec. 24 and not on the 25.
With the amount of contention and disparity the nation and world has been experiencing, moments such as this month serve as a reminder that no one is alone.