Hispanic Heritage Month Festival commences a cultural celebration


Rachael Le Goubin

Ike Brannan, 3, dances to the live music from the band Chakai Manta at the Hispanic Heritage Month Festival on Saturday, September 14. Photo by Rachael Le Goubin

Carley Hull

Kent State students and faculty joined members of the Kent community to experience and learn about Hispanic culture at the 2nd Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14.

“Hispanic Heritage Month now for the second year is really starting to allow Latino students to meet other Latino students and to meet other students that are not Latino, but have an interest in the culture. Which is a great thing to see,” said David Garcia, associate vice president of Enrollment Management and chair of the Latino Networking Caucus (LNC).

The national celebration actually began Sunday, Sept. 15 and runs until Oct. 15. Originally Hispanic Heritage Month was a week under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, but President Ronald Reagan extended the celebration on Sept. 15, 1988, according to hispanicheritagemonth.gov.

Sept. 15 was chosen as the beginning of the month-long holiday because it was the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

At the event, people ate traditional Mexican dishes while a Latino band from Cleveland, Grupo Chakai Manta, performed traditional and non-traditional songs in Spanish.

Amy Enlow, sophomore Spanish literature, culture and translation major, said she attended to support her fellow Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA) members and to attend a Spanish-related event for her major.

SALSA welcomed perspective new members and discussed upcoming events at its table.

“Basically we want to see who is interested and show them we have these events they should come to,” said Carlos Silva, junior Spanish literature, culture and translation major and SALSA committee member.

The company Localingua Localization and Translation also had a table set up to educate students about its translation services and partnership with Kent State’s translations program for seven years, said Mario Morelos, managing director of Localingua Localization and Translation.

Rebecca Woskoff, graduate student of higher education and student personnel, said she came to the event for a multicultural class in order to look through the lens of a culture that was not her own.

“[Diversity is] a big thing because we are dealing with so many different people, and it’s so important [for my future job],” Woskoff said.

Tables were also set up for henna tattoos, University Health Services, LNC and the Kent State bookstore, where Latino Heritage Month T-shirts and Latino literature were sold.

Throughout the day, there was a piñata, a jalapeño eating contest and an El Grito, which Garcia described as a “shout of joy.”

Kent State will continue celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through a series of programs listed on the Hispanic Heritage Month calendar.

Contact Carley Hull [email protected].