Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month begins at SIU with September kickoff

By Janae Mosby, Staff Reporter

Hispanic/Latinx heritage month began on Sept. 15 at SIU and events are slated to run to Oct. 15.

“The national theme for this year is, ‘Be proud of your past and embrace your future’. So, going around that theme we start bringing things together,” Hispanic/Latinx resource center coordinator Cristina Castillo said.

The heritage month kickoff was held on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and was an SIU system level event. It included SIU Edwardsville, SIU Springfield medical school and SIUC, Castillo said.


“SIU has celebrated hispanic heritage month since 1996, so we have a really good history of those events. This is the first year that they do MSL events for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at SIUE,” Castillo said. 

Lindy Wagner, the director of the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, helped Castillo coordinate the heritage month events.

“With COVID, I knew that the majority of our events, if not all, would be virtual and I thought what an excellent platform [it was] to collaborate on,” Wagner said.

The kickoff event included opening remarks from SIU System President Dan Mahony and guest speaker Dr. Carmen Suarez.

The Chancellors of SIUC, SIUE and the Dean at SIU School of Medicine gave closing remarks. The live stream is available on SIU YouTube Channel, https://youtu.be/nJ9asH7Z544

There are 10 other events for heritage month that bring a little bit of Hispanic culture and heritage to the SIU campus. 

“One of the main components of heritage month is basically bringing culture to our campus and offering events that will shine a light on our history and our heritage,” Castillo said.


All the events will be held virtually to help keep students and people of the community safe.

“This month [the events] will all be virtual, mainly because we know that in the state of Illinois the numbers for in person events have been fluctuating a lot, so we decided to be on the safe side and plan everything virtual,” Wagner said.  

Castillo divided heritage month into four components, history, culture and traditions, advocacy for Spanish and Latinx students and contribution. 

“One of the contributions is that we are part of the fabric of the country. Then we bring everything down to the local aspects of Illinois or southern Illinois,” Castillo said.

Castillo said that heritage month is not just about celebrating the culture, it is also about what the school is doing for hispanic/latinx students to help them thrive.

“For this year, one of my most important aspects is advocacy, so we created a constructive training event in which I am […] working with these marginalized students and how to help them in higher education,” Castillo said. 

This training event had two sessions, one was held on Sept. 17 and the other was held on Sept. 21.

The training event helped teach people how to better serve Hispanic/Latinx students in higher education. 

The cultural and tradition aspect of heritage month includes three events, salsa dance lessons, la piñata making, and la lotería, Castillo said.

The live salsa event was held on Sept. 23 on a live stream with salsa ambassador Juilo Barrenzula. 

“I am excited about this week, we are doing the la piñata making, the history as well has a demonstration. Cristina and I both provided a DIY kit,” Wagner said.

The la piñata event will be held on Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. and it will go over the history of the piñata, why they are made and what their meaning is, Castillo said. 

The list of materials can be found on the Facebook event live stream, through the Resource Center’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SalukisUnidos

According to the Student Multicultural Resource Center website, Latinx personalities la lotería will be held on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. This is an interactive learning bingo-like game and individuals will have the chance to win prizes.

“Another cool collaboration between the schools is our Torn Between Tongues panel […]. It is really a conversation about this idea that if you are Spanish or Latinx you must or do speak Spanish,” Wagner said. 

The Torn Between Tongues panel will be held on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.

Two events will be held on Oct. 13, a first generation Latinx college student panel and a discussion for SIUE students about Latinx experiences on campus.

The last event will take place on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. and it is a Latin food cooking demonstration. It will be held on Live stream through the Resource Center’s Facebook page.

For more information about the Hispanic/Latinx heritage month events you can go to the Student Multicultural Resource Center website .


Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at jmosby@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

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