Bienvenidos! Latinx Heritage Month begins with a kick-off event on September 15, 2022! Hosted by University President Carol L. Folt, and including remarks from faculty, staff, and students, we will explore this month’s theme: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Community.” Everyone is welcome to watch the livestream at Tommy’s Place from 12-2pm, to enjoy light snacks and refreshments in-person, and celebrate the beginning of Latinx Heritage Month.
The celebration of Latinx Heritage Month uniquely begins in the middle of the month on September 15, the date that coincides with the Independence Day anniversaries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. What was once called Hispanic Heritage Month is now more commonly referred to as Latinx Heritage Month to be inclusive and representative of non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender expansive peoples. This distinction of a more inclusive name still embodies the purpose of the month, a time to honor and celebrate the Latinx community.
At USC, this celebration typically includes a variety of events throughout the month where students can hear from speakers who visit campus and engage in meaningful conversation with the community.
Last year, the Marshall School of Business outlined a timeline of important dates that align with Latinx Heritage Month, which you can check out here.
These highlights include notable figures such as:
- Ellen Ochoa is an engineer and a former astronaut who was the first Hispanic woman to go into space. She was also the first Hispanic and second woman to serve as the Director of NASA Johnson Space Center.
- Cesar Chavez is a civil rights activist and American labor leader who cofounded the National Farm Workers Association and organized the most successful boycott in US history leading to better working conditions, access to healthcare and pensions, and an agreement allowing field workers the right to unionize. Cesar Chavez day is a US federal commemorative holiday celebrated on March 31 every year.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest congresswoman in US history. She advocates for a progressive platform that includes support for tuition-free public college, a Green New Deal, abolishing ICE, Medicare for all, and a federal jobs guarantee.
- Pablo Alvarado is the director of the National Day Laborer Organizing network and he has dedicated his life to reducing the suffering of migrants in the US. He was named one of TIME’s 25 most influential people in America.
USC Libraries also created a Latinx Heritage Month Reading List. The list includes Latino USA: A Cartoon History by Ilan Stavans, Nation of Women: An Early Feminist Speaks Out by Luisa Capetillo, Piñata Theory by Alan Chazaro, With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, and many more books written by Latinx authors and scholars.
For students interested in pursuing research at USC, the Library database has a Latin American Studies Research Guide which is a helpful tool to navigate the abundance of available resources.
USC has numerous resources to support the needs and success of Latinx students. Since its founding in 1972, Latinx Chicanx for Advocacy and Student Affairs (La CASA) empowers students through cultural identity, leadership, and social consciousness development, and establishes community for Latinx Trojans. La CASA hosts the Power Pan Dulce speaker series where faculty, staff, and alumni can connect with others and support students with their professional aspirations over some traditional, delicious sweet bread! La CASA is a space where Latinx students can experience cultural community and connectedness, it can be your space to seek help and support, or simply a great place to study.
For over 45 years, Latinx students have experienced community by living on the El Sol y La Luna: Latinx Floor, or known to as “The Floor” by the students who live there. The goal of the Latinx Floor is to create a positive and supportive environment that helps Latinx students navigate their experience at USC while empowering them to be leaders. “The Floor” has been home to generations of Latinx Trojans, a community where students feel a sense of belonging and where friends become family.
We have a dynamic and prideful Latinx community who value sharing their culture with others and thrive at USC. The Latinx Student Assembly (LSA), is a cultural assembly that fosters pride in Latinx heritage and culture. LSA supports student-run Member Organizations with the resources to host events that bring together students of Latinx heritage, to make positive impact in the community, and to educate the USC student body.
The USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA), is one of the nation’s leading Latinx alumni associations that provides scholarship assistance and is the representative voice for all Latinx alumni. LAA hosts their annual Scholarship Gala where a Latinx student is celebrated as the recipient of the Dr. John R. Hubbard Recognition Award for their academic achievements, leadership and community service.
Of the dozens of student organizations on campus that relate to the Latinx community, one that promotes a sense of pride and passion for Latinx representation in cinema is The Latinx Film & Media Association (LatiFAM). Representation includes the actors onscreen, as well as those who work behind the scenes in productions, like the directors and writers. LatiFAM’s goal is to highlight Latinx creatives in the entertainment industry. They state their intent on their website as fulfilling a “need for Latinx professionals in the film and media industries.” This organization hosts screenings for both student films and blockbuster movies like In the Heights. LatiFAM has already hosted a Carne Asada Welcome for new students with delicious (and free) pupusas, tacos, agua frescas, and paletas. Join this club to experience an empowering connection with fellow filmmakers and film enthusiasts. These students can connect with one another to collaborate on film projects, discuss the movies they love, and highlight the importance of Latinx stories being told through film. Follow their Instagram to stay in the loop about future events and film screenings: @latifamdeusc
Another organization worth checking out is Amplify Writers’ Collective, a collective for screenwriters of color. Follow them on Instagram: @amplify.sca
Latinx Heritage Month is not only for the Latinx community – it’s truthfully a celebration that everyone can participate in! At USC, all students are encouraged to participate in these events to uplift and celebrate the Latinx community.
Written by Lina Goggins-Rendón, Assistant Director