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Honoring Hispanic history

In honor of Hispanic heritage month, Missouri Western had its annual Hispanic Heritage Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 30. For this year’s banquet, Latina poet Elizabeth Acevedo was asked to perform her poetry.

Acevedo is of Dominican decent and grew up in New York City. Her poetry is all about the struggles she has been through and injustices she has seen in her life. She spoke about being an educated Latina living in New York and how no matter where she went, she was either looked down upon for being too educated or too ethnic, depending on the environment.

Different cultures and people all have their own voice, and Acevedo thought that it was important to get her voice out there.

“I’ve been writing since I was about eight, and as you heard I originally wanted to be a singer/rapper. It was always about having my words out there. I felt that it was important to say what I hadn’t heard. Most writers write because they feel like their story isn’t in the world,” Acevedo said.

In one poem, she spoke about the differences between herself and her fiance. He is African American and she is Latina. This poem specifically talked about what hardships their potential future child would face being of mixed races.

The majority of her poems touched on subjects that are “taboo,” such as racial inequality, sexual assault on women and social classism. Acevedo described them as being uncomfortable subjects, with that being the exact reason why they need to be talked about.

All students were welcome to come to the banquet. For many of the foreign language classes, going to cultural events on campus is a requirement. Grace Galbearth was one of the many students who attended the banquet.

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I thought it was a great opportunity to hear a different perspective that’s so prominent in our society today,” Galbearth said.

Latoya Fitzpatrick is the coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Education here at Missouri Western. She is in charge of setting up events such as the Hispanic Heritage Banquet.

“In my roll, I educate the campus and the community about diverse cultures, perspectives, ways of thinking and I advise the Black Student Union as a part of my position, and I support all students so they can eventually graduate from college,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick explained that the goal of all of the programs put on by the Center for Multicultural Education is to educate students.

The night was a unique opportunity to experience the Hispanic culture within its music, thoughts put into words and cuisine.

Upcoming events from the CME include the foreign film series, way back Wednesdays and a drag show during Homecoming week.

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