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Invitation to Celebrate Latina/Latino Heritage Month

2021-9-21 | Kristin Mueller

I would be the first to admit that I know very little about Hispanic Heritage Month, which began September 15 and runs through October 15. I have recently begun a journey with the Evangelical Covenant Church on the Anti-racism Discipleship Pathway, and in the first 3 sessions of conversations, we have begun to listen to voices and read books from the Latino/Latina community. As we’ve begun, I asked, as I’m sure many do – why would a “month” celebration overlap two different months? A recent Covenant newsletter, coming from the office of Love Mercy and Do Justice, explains that it begins on September 15th and ends October 15th to coincide with the national Independence Days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile. I’m sure that your Google calendar has told you it’s begun, but how else can we plan to take note this month?


The larger Covenant church is connected with two different organizations we can learn more about. In Compton, California, you will find the Centro Hispano de Estudio Teológicos (CHET), a 32-year-old Covenant Bible institute that serves 350-400 part-time students studying in four programs. You can learn more about this institution through their Facebook page. In addition, Asociación Latina de la Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico, or ALIPE, links pastors and leaders of Hispanic congregations through connection, fellowship, and resourcing. You can find more information about ALIPE through the Covenant Church website.


Rev. Juana Nesta is the president of ALIPE, and she is the first woman elected to this position in the association of the Hispanic Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church in the United States. You can hear from Rev. Juana Nesta directly as she invites us into the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.


We also received an invitation in an email from the offices of Love Mercy, Do Justice, where they shared, “We encourage you to take Rev. Juana's words to heart and dig a little deeper into the history and significance of Latina/o Heritage Month through the following resources this week:


  • Read the book mentioned by Rev. Juana in her video: Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity (by Robert Chao Romero)
  • Read other books written by Latina/o authors. You can find an extensive Latina/o Theology reading list here.
  • Learn more about the history of this month on History.com.
  • Google search “National Hispanic Heritage Month" and see what you find! Here is a list of suggestions from Oprah.
  • And, of course, there’s always our favorite way to celebrate: FOOD! Find local Latina/Latino-owned restaurants to try!”


We also live in an area where we have the opportunity to connect with others from diverse cultures, as Purdue University is such an integral part of our community. The following message was forwarded to me and extends as an invitation to all of us in Lafayette, West Lafayette, and the surrounding areas.


“Dear Members of the Greater Lafayette Area:

September 15th commences National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM), which celebrates the histories and contributions of Latinx communities in the United States. The Purdue University National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) committee invites you to join us in uplifting Latinx Boilermakers and contributions. Below you will find a variety of ways to support NHHM initiatives at Purdue University.


The Division of Diversity and InclusionOffice of the Provost invites you the NHHM keynote lecture on Tuesday, September 21st from 5:30 PM EDT – 6:30 PM EDT at Loeb Playhouse in Stuart Hall titled Reaching For Your Own Stars: A Recipe To Succeed In Life featuring Former NASA Astronaut & American Engineer José Hernández.


You will see Latinx Boilermakers being highlighted during September 15th-October 15th via Purdue University social media channels: @LCCPurdue, and @LifeatPurdue, as well as on the Latino Cultural Center website. We encourage you to share, like, and comment on these stories on social media.


Following are other ways to support NHHM at Purdue:

  • Attend the Latino Cultural Center National Hispanic Heritage Month events;
  • Create post-event discussions or watch parties for events;
  • Leverage social media accounts and newsletters to highlight Latinx individual contributions in your organizations; and/or
  • Use the NHHM Toolkit to help advertise events. 


If you would like to collaborate on an event or would like to brainstorm ideas on how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, please feel free to reach out to Carina Olaru, Director of the Latino Cultural Center at latinocc@purdue.edu.


Regards,


National Hispanic Heritage Month Committee


Purdue University


Guadalupe Acosta Roberts, College of Liberal Arts 


Dr. Rodrigo Bañuelos, College of Science 


Wilfrido Cruz, University Residences

 

Carina Olaru, Latino Cultural Center—Office of the Provost


Jesus Romero, Leadership Development and Latino Faculty and Staff Association co-chair 


Kamilah Valentin Diaz, student in the College of Liberal Arts and social media chair for Purdue Immigrant Allies”