Unidos during Hispanic Heritage Month


Colin Stevenson

Zavala International Dance member Selena Hurtado performs a dance from Chiapas, Mexico, Sept. 17.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15, the independence day of five different Latin American countries, and goes through Oct. 15. This month celebrates Hispanic culture and history. 

“So far, MSU is celebrating with the MOSAIC through our kick off, we did Viva MSU! We wanted to make sure we were bringing a pretty authentic feel, make sure we could celebrate it in all of the ways that kind of recognize the independence of all of the countries that did receive their independence which is why we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” Jamilah Kangudja, MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center coordinator, said.“I think that was a good kick off. We provided a taco truck, it was Tacos Don Pepe…as well as Fazmos Caribbean cuisine because there are some of the islands are considered Hispanic and we wanted to make sure that we were being true and encompassing of all of the people that are within this community of being Hispanic or of Latinx descent or heritage.”  

This year’s theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” Unidos translates to united which was reflected in the Viva MSU! celebration according to Ruby Garrett, assistant director of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center.

“The really big impact with that was Viva MSU!…we were there uniting as one. It wasn’t just [a MOSAIC] event, it was  an event for MSU Texas and it was with [Kappa Delta Chi], [Omega Delta Phi], Somos Familia. It was just a lot of different organizations, even organizations that were not Latin based like the museum that was there too advertising heritage and artwork and just community. So I think that was just a really big event,” Garrett said. “The other events that’s happening as well we’re partnering up with them and were advertising so it’s not just them doing by themselves were also helping them to get people to go out there, to learn more about the culture and so I think that’s one way of us uniting as one to helping each other out to be stronger.”

Viva MSU! united organizations from the Wichita Falls community. There was the Organization of Hispanic Students who made elotes, and the Zavala International Dance who performed the traditional dance Folklorico.

“I came here to dance baile Folklorico. I’ve been dancing since I was about nine years old, stayed with it ever since,” Juanita Orocco, Zavala International Dance dancer and bilingual education and Spanish senior, said. “I love showing  my culture to the community, sharing this beautiful traditional dance, sharing the dresses, the hair pieces,” 

The kick off event was Viva MSU! but the Self Portrait Party was the first event for Hispanic Heritage Month. The Self Portrait Party was part of Hispanic Heritage Month last year as well with a focus on Frida Kahlo. This year the event highlighted more artists.

“The goal for the painting event was to have fun, destress and paint a little bit while showcasing some Hispanic Latino artists. Last year we did just Frida but this year we introduced a few more like Fernando Botero, Ester Hernandez and Carlos Mérida,” Bella Muniz, LGBTQA STAND Council coordinator and English junior said.

An event that didn’t make a comeback this year was the Noche de Estrellas. This event was replaced by Latin night, an event for dancing and music.

“We opted for Latin Night because it seems as though traditionally when you look at the culture, partying in that manner with your friends with your family is more of a celebration than it is to just kind of get dressed up and go and listen to someone speak. So we won’t be doing Noche de las Estrellas this year instead we opted for Latin Night. We’re gonna see how this goes and maybe we can make this a recurring thing as well for Hispanic Heritage Month,” Kangudja said. 

All events were announced through the MOSAIC Hispanic Heritage Month calendar like in previous years. This year only four events were visible in the calendar as opposed to the 10 from the previous year. This is because the events on the calendar are only MOSAIC events, it doesn’t include the events from other on campus organizations.

“For the most part it’s almost working separately of course we’re going to continue to promote other people’s events…but without taking the initiative on their event because if it’s something that I didn’t plan I can’t answer every question for the event per se,” Kangudja said. “I think in a way this makes it to where we work together as an MSU community rather than we work separately because now the expectation isn’t that we are all the program that has to happen everybody is welcomed to do programming and bring about awareness to whatever observance or observance month is happening.”  

An addition to the calendar was events happening outside of campus. Community events such as the Zavala Latin Block Party and “GABRIEL “FLUFFY” IGLESIAS – BACK ON TOUR.” There was also a section called #Paracultura Roadtrips which featured events happening in Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma.

“There’s a lot of people that like to go home and sometimes there’s more options or there’s more variety that is happening in the metroplex than there probably is happening within our community in Wichita Falls and Midwestern State. We want to make sure that we are being very intentional about providing opportunities for people whether it is a matter of they’re here or a matter of they’re going back to the metroplex…or…even the matter of Oklahoma…those are the closest cities and state that are to us and it seems like it will be a lot more convenient to allow people that experience,” Kangudja said.

MOSAIC is also providing informative resources about Hispanic Heritage Month and the community it celebrates on its page on the MSU website. Garrett has been providing those resources as she believes it is important to learn about the culture while celebrating it.

“Just like any observance you don’t just celebrate one month and that’s it or a week and that’s it. You want to continue that effort because that’s a way of how you enrich your life and how you enrich the community so you’ll learn more about whatever culture you’re learning too…Everything changes every single day. What [Hispanic Heritage Month] was back in the day it’s totally different from what it is now just because we as a community just like any observance in the community grow and we see how we can improve our lives,” Garrett said.