La Unión Hispana celebrates beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month

La Unión Hispana celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with the Festival of Culture Sept. 16, the first of three planned events celebrating hispanic heritage.

The Festival of Culture was a collaboration between La Unión Hispana, the department of languages, literature and culture and the diversity, equity and inclusion office. The effort was spearheaded by Caleigh Sanchez, José Cruz Medina and Lincy Smith with help from professors Cory Conover, Pilar Cabrera and Joseph Patteson.

Junior José Cruz Medina listens to a speaker at the festival of culture. Photo by Sydney Denekamp.

The Festival of Culture served as an introductory event for the next two National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations and the Hispanic people who are celebrated during Hispanic heritage month. 

“It was our first event for the year, so that was really exciting and kind of frightful as well because I think we were one of the first few clubs who already had events,” Cruz Medina said. “We didn’t know if people were actually going to come, but, surprisingly, a lot of people did come. And they did listen to us, and it was really great.”

The event involved a variety of speakers including Smith, Ronny Lopes, Pedro Borin, Henry Rollins and Laura Arce Vieyra. Many of the speakers shared their personal stories about growing up Hispanic as well as about their Hispanic cultures. The festival also boasted homemade Mexican salsa in three varieties of different levels of spice.

“It was a really cool way of integrating both faculty and students and coming together to talk about our own cultures and talk about our countries and what we were raised on and how we were raised,” said Cruz Medina.

To further celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, La Unión Hispana will host a poetry event Saturday, Sept. 25 in the Back Alley, featuring Angelica Mercado, a Sioux Falls poet and artist who was born in Mexico. The group invites students to come listen to poetry, enjoy Mexican hot chocolate and recite their own work. 

There will also be salsa dancing Oct. 15 to celebrate the last part of this month of heritage celebration.

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