By Angelica Diaz
The LatinX & Hispanic Student Organization at Youngstown State University is working actively to engage in the community.
Alexandra Montaz, senior political science major and president of the LatinX & Hispanic Student Organization at YSU, said the group has been established since 2009 but hasn’t hosted many events.
“It wasn’t officially inactive but we wouldn’t do anything,” Montaz said. “We wouldn’t have meetings. We wouldn’t have events. We would just do Hispanic Heritage Month.”
Montaz, who recently received the Women’s Student Leadership Award through YSU’s Women’s and Gender Studies Office, said she wanted LatinX to do more and have a place here on campus.
“We started by changing the name, updating the bylaws and just doing more activities,” she said, noting that the name had been changed from Latino Organization to LatinX & Hispanic Student Organization.
Montaz said that she and other Latino students got together and decided to “reboot the organization.”
She said it’s important for everybody to communicate no matter their ethnicity, but she understands it is also important for Latino students at YSU to have their own community.
“It is important to have that community of people who go through similar struggles as you,” she said.
Montaz said the organization also discusses the different issues surrounding Latino in today’s society. She said the organization has partnered with HOLA Ohio, an organization that works with families and children impacted by immigration policies in the United States.
Veronica Dahlberg, executive director at HOLA Ohio, said her organization has worked to empower the Latino community through education, advocacy, civic engagement and leadership development for two decades.
“We try to help the Latino community use their own voice to improve their own lives,” Dahlberg said.
Dahlberg explains how YSU LatinX & Hispanic Student Organization has stepped in and is helping create a pilot project. The plan is to help provide a support system for dislocated immigrant families in the Youngstown area by translating or providing additional help.
“It is important that our community, especially the students in the student organization with Hispanic roots, learn about the current situation many immigrant families in our own community and surrounding areas have been facing due to Zero Tolerance Immigration Laws, and most importantly, that our youth understands the importance of active engagement and how to be part of community organizing,” Ana M. Torres, co-director and head of library services and operations at MAAG Library and one of the advisors for the LatinX Organization, said.
Montaz said anyone is welcome to be a part of the LatinX Organization and Hispanic Student Organization.
“We want to share our culture with other people,” Montaz said.
She said when it comes to sharing cultures, it’s not just about learning how to dance or eating Latin food, but also partnering with Latinos and engaging in the issues the Latino communities encounter.
If you want to be a part of LatinX & Hispanic Student Organization or want more information contact Alexandra Montaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.