Each year, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the United States officially acknowledges the tremendous cultural, political and social contributions that Latino communities — be they rooted in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe or elsewhere — have made to the United States of America and their ongoing impact on the nation’s history. Members of the Wayne State community are invited to kick off the university’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association’s annual Welcome Back Reception, which will be held on Sept. 13, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the Student Center Building. President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., will present her signed proclamation declaring Hispanic Heritage Month in a special presentation at 1:30 p.m. RSVP online.
This year’s event is centered around sharing the fun and excitement of Latino celebrations with campus community members of all backgrounds and cultures. Guests will enjoy refreshments, including pastries and handcrafted coffee creations from Cafecito Alvarez, and have an opportunity to join in a game of lotería – a picture-based, Spanish-speaking version of bingo – and other games. The event will also feature music and dancing, including a lesson of traditional dance steps led by the Ballet Folkórico student organization. Guests will also be able to browse and shop a mercado, or “marketplace,” of student and alumni vendors and engage in an informal networking and resource fair.
“While we celebrate Hispanic heritage year-round, we welcome the opportunity to shine an extra light on the strong Latinx community we have built at Wayne State and in Detroit,” said Jorge Chinea, distinguished service professor of history and director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS). “We are especially excited about President Espy’s strong record of accomplishments at a Hispanic-serving institution, and look forward to her leadership as our communities continue to flourish.”
Chinea and event organizer Theresa Ramírez-Zipser, a member of the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association and the engagement and outreach officer, encourage everyone to attend and join in the festivities at the Welcome Back Reception and other cultural events.
“We want everyone to engage in our celebration – this is not just for those who self-identify as Latina/o/x/e or Hispanic,” said Ramírez-Zipser. “The more we interact with each other and learn about different cultures, the deeper our understanding and appreciation grows. As a community, our culture is rich, our history is deeply rooted, and our contributions immense, and we also have a lot of fun – please join us!”
In addition to the overarching missions of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, Wayne State has a host of organizations dedicated to connecting, celebrating and championing Hispanic and Latinx heritage. Many of these organizations, including CLLAS, have long been anchors on campus and in Detroit. As one of the oldest programs of its kind, CLLAS has remained committed to educational excellence and diversity by championing Latino/a and Latin American cultural studies for more than 52 years.
“For generations, we have fostered a supportive, inclusive community that has produced alumni making an impact on campus, in Detroit and beyond,” Chinea said. “Our Latina/o/x faculty, staff and students are an important part of what makes Wayne State exceptional.”
The Hispanic Heritage Month Welcome Back Reception is presented by the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association, CLLAS, the Latinx Student Association, the Latino Medical Student Association, the Latinx Law Student Association, Ballet Folklórico de Wayne State University, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
To learn more about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Wayne State, visit diversity.wayne.edu.