“I am an American, but I’m a Mexican American. I’m proud of my heritage and who I am. We are all immigrants and we all come from different places. I don’t want to forget who I am and where I come from,” Haradillas said.
“It’s not just a week of celebration. In reality it’s a whole month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, and next year we’ll do just that. Yes, it’s a way to celebrate our heritage, but it’s also a way to educate the campus and non-Latinos,” she added.
Emmanuel Diaz Michel, secretary for the Hispanic Outreach & Leadership at Armstrong (HOLA), manned the table devoted to Bolivia at one of the week’s events. Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, and Peru also had representing tables.
“It’s not about celebrating my heritage, it’s about sharing it and introducing everyone to the culture,” he stated as he helped to serve food to students..
All sorts of students were making their way to the front of the Student Union, attracted by the smells of good food and music.
Miguel Lo and his friend Melissa Ramirez also took a moment to comment on the events.
“I’m here because my friends and I are a part of HOLA,” Lo commented. “It’s an HOLA event and I went last year, plus my grandmother is Cuban.”
Ramirez stated that for her, Latino Heritage Week meant being proud of her culture as well as sharing her culture. “There are all these different places with something in common. Dancing, eating, and family are some things a lot of Hispanic people have in common.”
HOLA hosted a movie night on Sept. 23 in Ogeechee Theater, showing “Under the Same Moon”, a story about a boy traveled to the United States illegally in order to find his mother, but it touched on a much deeper issue.
Other events included a motivational speaker – “The Cuban Guy”- on Sept. 24. Andres Lara left Cuba at sixteen, leaving him homeless, but would become a millionaire not even ten years later.
Thursday, Sept. 25 is Salsa Night in the Savannah Ballroom, starting at 6:30pm. The event is open to the public, where you can learn a few Latin moves on the dance floor.
A picnic, the final event of the week, will be held on Friday, Sept. 26.