Afro-Latinx/Latinx/Indigenous Heritage Celebration Kicks Off in Style

Screen Printing at the MuseumOn Thursday, September 19, the SMC community gathered to attend a festive kickoff party for the monthlong Afro-Latinx/Latinx/Indigenous Heritage Celebration. The well-attended event, held in the Museum of Art, featured a taco bar, a DJ and music, beverages, and art, and was a joint effort hosted by the College Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CCIE), the Museum of Art, the Mission and Ministry Center, and the Latinx student clubs.

“The idea behind the event was to create a space to celebrate Afro-Latinx culture on campus, a place for celebration and belonging,” said April Bojorquez, the Museum of Art curator and a member of the celebration’s organizing committee. “Especially with everything going on in this current political climate, we wanted to celebrate diversity.”

Cynthia Martinez, a faculty member in the Counseling Department and on the Latinx Action Subcommittee of CCIE, explained the committee’s contribution to the event. “We’re a Hispanic Serving Institution, which means that we are a minority-serving institution designated by the government, where a certain portion of the student body identifies as Latinx,” she said. “Because of that designation, we were charged with thinking about what a space in a Hispanic Serving Institution looks like. That was why we decided to hold this celebration for the next month: Hispanic Heritage Month is all of September, so we decided to dedicate this next month as Afro-Latinx/Latinx/Indigenous Heritage Days to help shine light on all of those communities.”

Thursday’s event was part of a new tradition at the SMC Museum, known as Third Thursdays. “Basically, the idea behind Third Thursdays is that every third Thursday of the month, the museum closes at 9 p.m. instead of 4 like it normally does,” said Bojorquez.

The festivities included the Sanctuary City Project (SCP) Mobile Print Cart, which allowed participants to tell immigration stories in America through silk-screening, as well as DJ Mar, a part of the DJ collective of Chulita Vinyl Club. The Chulita Vinyl Club is made up of those who have been historically marginalized, including non-binary, LGBTQ, and self-identified people of color. Visitors enjoyed performances from La Hermandad and the SMC Ballet Folklórico, and delicious tacos from El Molino’s Taco Bar.

Activities scheduled for the next month include a craft talk by author Ingrid Rojas Contreras and a reception for Brother Camillus Chavez on Wednesday, Sept. 25th; the Josh Healy Screening of the North Pole Webseries Immigration and Deportation on Oct. 2nd; and a presentation by playwright Josephina Lopez of Real Women Have Curves on October 16. For more information about other events celebrating Afro-Latinx/Latinx/Indigenous cultures, check out the Saint Mary’s website.