Hispanic Heritage Month starts with Empowering Latine First Generation College Voices


Frida Ferrusquia (left) and Niko Araujo-Pedroza (right) perform ballet folklorico during the CMU Pep Rally/Kickin' it With the VPSA Friday, Sept. 8 outside Kulhavi Events Center Plaza. They are both part of Ballet Folklorico de la Luz, an RSO at CMU dedicated to teaching the traditional Spanish dance form.

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off events Friday, Sept. 15, at 5 p.m. in Bovee University Center Auditorium 302 with Empowering Latine First Generation College Voices.

National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Originally started in 1968 as a week, Hispanic Heritage Month now is celebrated to recognize contributions and diversity of Latinx community, according to the United States Department of Education website

The event is run by Central Bridge and Multicultural Academic Student Services (MASS).

Alejandro Gadilla, the assistant director of Latinx/Hispanic American Student Engagement said the keynote speaker for the event is Cynthia Martinez, a Western Michigan University graduate who now produces a documentary to tell her story. 

Her documentary “First Voice Generation” focuses on poverty, education and the lives of these students during COVID-19, highlighting struggles they face as Latinx students.

“This year we are bringing Cynthia Martinez, who used to be a reporter for Univision in Miami Florida," Gadilla said. "She grew up in Michigan in the Holland area and most recently, she started doing film documentaries and this is her first one.

"It’s focused on first-generation college students, and she follows the life of three latina students in Holland, Michigan, and records their experiences as first gen students.” 

Valentina Memjie is a president of Central Bridge organization, whose work focuses on students who will be first-generation college students from marginalized groups.  

“I’m excited to see representation for first-gen students on campus and having some bigger figures represent us,” Memjie said. 

Some other Hispanic Heritage Month events coming up are Welcome Back Carne Asada, Juguetes y Dulces: A Journey into Mexican Traditions and More Than Just One Voice.

To learn more, visit MASS office Facebook page.