Latino Heritage Month At SMC

The clouds parted, the sun shined, and admirers of Latino culture gathered on Santa Monica College's fountain quad to celebrate not the end of rain, but Latino Heritage Month last Thursday afternoon. SMC's very own Latino Student Union, together with Associated Students, coordinated the event to celebrate Hispanic diversity.

As students traversed the campus to go to or from class, they caught the smell of pupusas and tamales trailing in the air, or they sighted six or seven bleach white tents, both indicators that something other than the mundane was transpiring at SMC. Of course, this would stop anyone dead in their tracks, now the only question that remained, as is always the case for college students, "How do we get free food?"

Before SMC students could get carried away by hunger, the festivities began with an invitation made by LSU President Joana P. Reyes. While free food and music seemed invitation enough, students were further entertained with three live performances. Each dance was choreographed by Nelson and all were passion-filled and crowd-pleasing. Between each dance, Reyes continued the invitational with the encouragement that everyone should partake in learning about Latin American countries, including Latinos themselves because they might just find there was something that they didn't already know about their culture before. Then, with a sweep of her arm, Reyes asked the crowd to wave their passports in the air and to use it to "taste a little from each country." Upon entering the celebration one had to pick up a passport. Only four pages long, blue and compact, the Latino Heritage Month passport was ubiquitous, as it was in the hand of every student eager to get a taste of Latin America. For SMC students enticed enough by the aroma and the ornamented booths that filled the quad, only a passport came between them and the free food. With LSU's blessing, hungry faculty, staff and students were off.   

In order to get that taste, one had four questions to answer. The questions bore the likes of, "What is the national sport of the Dominican Republic?" or, "What is the formal name of Ecuador?" Even more, for those who feared their lack of knowledge of Latin American culture would work against them, the Latino Student Union tacked posters around the front of the booths with information about each country from whatever continent that particular booth represented.

Take for example the second question posed in this paragraph. If you didn't already know that the formal name of Ecuador is the Republic of Ecuador, then you would make your way to the South American booth to find that out on a poster. Then, you would write the answer down or simply tell any one of the LSU members operating a booth. Finally, if the answer is correct, you could get one of the many foods served: pupusas, empanadas, tamales, horchata, and other treats. Every one correct answer was equivalent to one free sample.

Latin culture is not only known for its amazing food or music, and neither should the Latino Heritage Month festival. To learn more about the Latino Culture, LSU provides this opportunity, and is open to any person of any background. LSU members, Arlene Reynoso and Nelly Fabian, are new members to the LSU family and they both urge everyone: "Join LSU! It's great, we meet every Thursday at 11:15-12:35 in HSS 152!"