By Grace Gallacher and Avery Robb, Staff Writers
// Campus doors that were once blue and bare are now adorned with bright, exciting colors to celebrate the rich and diverse culture of Latine people. Door decorating is just one of several events planned at Acalanes to honor the contributions and cultures of Latine people.
Student leaders planned various events to help bring the school together to celebrate Latine heritage from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
People celebrate Latine Heritage Month for many reasons. Whether for culture, education, or specialized interest, community members find it important to recognize Latine culture and history.
“[During Latine History Month] we learn the accomplishments and everything that has happened from people that were here before us,” Spanish teacher Patricia Fernandez said.
With help from Leadership’s Diversity Board, Acalanes will hold a variety of events to celebrate the community’s Latine members.
“We have a Student Equity Council planned for Sept. 21 during Academy, which will highlight and educate different people and achievements. We have a community potluck and open mic night planned for Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m., followed by a speaker, Doris Anahi Munoz on Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m., which I am personally so excited about,” Leadership teacher Katherine Walton said.
The Latinos Unidos club also helps to guide the school in learning about Latine culture. Working alongside Leadership, they plan on educating students about several aspects of Latine Heritage.
“For [Latine Heritage] Month, we are mainly planning on having our normal meetings and, within those, we are doing some education about Latine Heritage Month. We are also partnering with Diversity [Board] and offering our support for all the other events they have,” Latinos Unidos President and junior Zoya Acuña said.
As Latine Heritage Month approaches, community members urge everyone to do their part to celebrate Latine culture.
“[We can] push ourselves to read a book that is written by someone of Latine descent. Go ahead and speak more Spanish if you are in a Spanish class, or get to know more Latinos in the community,” Fernandez said.
With so many events coming up at school, Acalanes creates a stimulating environment that encourages students to learn about different Latine cultures.
“I feel like [Latine Heritage Month] is a good opportunity to reflect and a good way to bring Latinos together and find a community within our school, especially for the school-focused events. I also think it’s a great way to get an education. For example, at the potluck, you can learn about so many foods from different areas which I think is really awesome,” Acuña said.
Some Latine students who have grown up with minimal exposure to their native cultures find it difficult to connect to their roots. However, celebrating Latine Heritage Month allows students to experience and engage with their culture more.
“I am half Mexican and I haven’t always gotten to see and experience authentic Latine culture because I was born and raised in America. So, I think my favorite part of Latine culture is simply just learning about it, and getting to celebrate it with all my friends,” Co-Head of the Diversity Board and senior Sophia Acuff said.
Creating opportunities for students to get involved and learn about different Latine cultures is important to them. Being exposed to experiences outside of their own culture helps create a more diverse and inclusive community for students.
“I think [celebrating Latine Heritage Month] is important because I feel like a lot of underrepresented minorities on campus are often overlooked. So, by shedding light on Latine people in general, we can strengthen our understanding and diversity and how to be more equitable. I hope Acalanes can work towards being more inclusive and not just looking at the negatives between our racial and cultural differences,” Co-Head of the Diversity Board and senior Ava Freeman said.
Celebrating everyone’s culture is an important aspect of creating more diversity in the community. Acalanes clubs and Leadership help create an environment where everyone can appreciate and celebrate diverse cultures.
“Even if someone isn’t of Latine descent, all these different cultures have made contributions to our country, and it is important that that is acknowledged. We should all take part in celebrating the diversity we are so lucky to have in our community. Right now, we are highlighting Latine culture because of Latine Heritage Month, but really, it’s important that every culture is recognized at all parts of the year, not just when it is their month,” Acuff said.
Photos by Juliet Becker, Online Editor-in-Chief