Advocacy, awareness and allyship showcased in Hispanic Latinx Heritage month

By Juniper Oxford, Staff Reporter

Advocacy was the central theme of this year’s Hispanic Latinx Heritage Month.

Cristina Castillo, coordinator of the Hispanic/Latino resource center, said the current anti-latino sentiment is part of the history of injustice that the community has faced. 

“We have had lynchings of Hispanics and Latinos,” Castillo said. “We have had mass deportations before. We have had negative slurs targeting Latinos. It is coming again in a historical loop. In fact a lot of our students have felt like walking targets. Especially since the shooting in El Paso.”

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Hispanic Latinx Heritage Month took place from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 and was observed with events throughout the month. 

Castillo said the month went really well, and there was a high attendance at the events. She said the events were attended by allies of the Hispanic/Latinx community, as well as the community itself. 

“These events are made for students, faculty and staff,” Castillo said, “not just for Hispanic/Latinx students.” 

Castillo said the recent advocacy and awareness event was a call to action to help people learn the historical aspects of Latinx here in the United States, and the issues that the LGBTQ community have dealt with.

The event highlighted a current and systemic problem that the Hispanic/Latinx community has long been faced with. 

“We have made progress, but we are repeating history again,” Castillo said. “We wanted students to come and hear about the history of the anti-Latino sentiment, the immigration problems and process as well as the LGBTQ history of resistance.”

The “Advocacy and Awareness” event, hosted by both the LGBTQ resource center and the Hispanic/Latino resource center, was made to not just show the challenges these communities had to overcome, but to talk about what still has to be and how it can be, Castillo said. 

“For me and for LGBTQ coordinator Vern[on Cooper], we wanted to inform, and then ask what next? [ …] We wanted a call to action for those that are now informed,” Castillo said. 

Castillo said more needs to be done, but that progress has been significant in regards to the community. There were ally trainings done where individuals could learn how to be an ally to the Hispanic/Latinx community. 

The first ally training had around 44 in attendance. The second ally training, done for SIU faculty and staff, had around 30. 

“We are doing good things,” Castillo said. “SIU is moving forward in acceptance and investment […] We need to do more. We are making progress, and I am really do appreciate the support that we have had with regards to educating and allyship.” 

Reporter Juniper Oxford can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter at @JuniperOxford

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