Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on Monday in the Pit to begin the monthlong celebration of Latino culture.
“The importance (of this month) is that we have this specific time designated to us to put on events that pertain to our culture, our practices, and that are related to our presence on campus,” said Cecilia Polanco, president of the Carolina Hispanic Association, called CHispA.
Polanco said she is glad that the event takes place at the beginning of the year because it gives people who have just come to campus a chance to reconnect with their culture.
“(Hispanic Heritage Month) plays a role on how we can identify here on campus,” said Laura Brache, Hispanic Heritage Month co-chair for CHispA.
There will be a variety of events throughout the month put on not only by CHispA and other Latino-based organizations, but also non-Latino affiliated organizations, such as the Campus Y and the Black Student Movement.
The events aim to promote Latino culture in an inclusive manner.
“This year, we’ve been putting on a strong emphasis that we are Latino-based, but not exclusive,” said Polanco in regards to CHispA.
On Oct. 2, CHispA, in conjunction with Carolina Dining Services and the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, will be holding a Hispanic Heritage Month dinner at Top of Lenoir dining hall.
There will also be a number of informational and educational events held in conjunction with the entertainment.
Keynote Speaker Junot Diaz, a Dominican-American author who wrote “The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao,” will come to Memorial Hall on Oct. 4.
“Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Diaz is also one of the cofounders of the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, whose mission is to develop emerging writers of color while stressing the value of commitment to artistic excellence, social justice and empowering the community of other writers of color,” the Carolina Union Activities Board press release said.
On Oct. 6, Students United for Immigrant Equality, a committee within the Campus Y, will be holding a simulation event, in which students will experience a day in the life of an immigrant.
CHispA will also be screening a number of Latino films over the course of the month.
On Oct. 11, CHispA will hold Carnaval, one of its main events, in SASB plaza.
This event will include food, games and many performances, including one by Que Rico, a contemporary Latin dance team at UNC.
Polanco said the Hispanic Heritage Month brings a number of organizations on campus together for the same cause.
“(It’s) our opportunity to shine, to show UNC who we are,” said Polanco.
“It’s a month of over 25 events centered on Latino culture and heritage for the UNC student body. Our purpose is to grow awareness and recognition on campus and to celebrate our culture.”