By Beth Shiller
From September 12 through October 15, the United States will once again celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a time for reflecting on Hispanic culture. The Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee at Youngstown State University will be holding three events on campus so students can participate in the festivities.
“Spanish is the main language in 22 countries, each one of them with their own culture and costumes,” said Paulina Montaldo, co-chair of YSU’s Hispanic Heritage Month. “Food, music and dance are all large parts of our Hispanic culture, and this is an opportunity for us to share them with this great community.”
A month-long display of the “Notable Latinos” exhibit will be located on the main floor of Maag Library. The art exhibit will feature contributions from renowned Latino authors, poets, musicians and artists.
On Tuesday, September 17, there will be a beginners’ salsa class in the Ohio Room of Kilcawley Center from 5-7 p.m.; participants will learn the rhythms and counts of basic salsa dance.
The Hispanic Heritage Celebration — or ‘Estrellas Latinas Brillando Bajo Un Mismo Cielo’ (Latino Stars Shining Under One Sky) — will be held on October 5 from 12-3 p.m. in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley. The event involves animals from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, music, activities, cultural displays and food.
“Throughout the history of the United States, people have come from different parts of the world and have contributed to this great nation where we live today,” said Montaldo.
Montaldo said that Hispanic Heritage Month lets her be proud of her roots and allows non-Hispanics to immerse themselves in the culture.
“We want to share our cultural diversity with those that don’t know very much about it. We want to let people know that Hispanics have a common language but we are so diverse,” she said.
The Spanish club, or Los Buenos Vecinos, has planned bake sales for September 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside of DeBartolo Hall, where they will sell Hispanic food such as cookies from Costa Rica and cakes from Argentina.
Corinne Bocci, senior and President of Los Buenos Vecinos, has been advertising this month’s events to her club, and she encourages all of club mates to attend.
“As a group, we decided to plan our own events first and will not be going to the off campus festivities, it is up to the individual if they’d want to go,” Bocci said. “Those events are the bake sale for Hispanic Heritage Month and some sort of party for around Halloween.”
Montaldo also said that there are more events and presentations off campus that are free and open to YSU students and Youngstown residents.
Events in September include an opening ceremony at the courthouse, a photography exhibit by Dr. Jose Galvez titled Another Day, Another Dream at the Museum of Industry and Labor, the annual Educators and Community Helping Hispanics Onward Inc. (ECHHO) College Fair and The Market Street Muppets performing at the Main Branch Public Library.
The off campus events in October are the 3rd Annual Non- Violence Parade and Rally held in Downtown, and an International Coffee Hour with a Journey of New Americans presentation.
Montaldo said that the Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee and Los Buenos Vecinos are “committed to sharing a little of our culture with all of you and wiling to learn about the richness and diversity of our native countries.”
Senior business major Benjamin Smith, who is of Mexican descent, says he will try to make as many events as he can.
“Knowing that [Hispanic Heritage Month] exists is wonderful,” Smith said. “A lot of my favorite events ever have happened in Mexico with my family and even when I can’t see my family; it’s still nice to celebrate.”