The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) recently announced their recognition and support for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Brandeis in an email to the Brandeis community. This national observance starts on Sept. 15 and proceeds till Oct. 15. During this time period, the Brandeis Latinx Student Organization (BLSO) and individual student performers showcase and uplift Hispanic culture.
The BLSO is a “group dedicated to exploring the political, social and cultural differences of the Hispanic/Latin@ community,” as described by the Hispanic Studies program. The group recently celebrated the event Carne Asada, where participants shared a meal of traditional Brazilian food, games and music.
On Oct. 15, the BLSO will host their annual cultural showcase Incendio at the Levin Ballroom. There will be numerous student performances, Hispanic and Latin American food and raffles. Tickets can be reserved for free for Brandeis students at the Shapiro Campus Center. The theme for Incendio this year is the “Garden of Culture.” More information regarding BLSO events can be found on their Instagram page.
In addition to BLSO events, the Brandeis International Business School is sponsoring a performance by Mariachi singer, musician and Latin American folkloric dancer and choreographer Veronica Robles along with her all-female Mariachi band on Oct. 14 in the school’s World Court.
Robles is the founder of the first female-only Mariachi band in Boston and is the co-founder and director of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center that “supports community action and economic growth in East Boston and offers Latin American arts and programming and provides jobs for youth,” according to her business website.
Furthermore, Robles was recently recognized for her work as a Latina artist, receiving the national 2021 Changemakers Award presented by the Institute of Non-Profit Practice. She is also the 2019 recipient of the Ohtli Award, which is one of the highest and limited distinctions given by the government of Mexico.
The DEI also highlighted that the University Archives and Special Collections has curated numerous materials and artifacts一both digital and hard-copy一documenting the experiences of former Hispanic students at Brandeis. One such example is a webinar panel recorded in 2021 that chronicles the lives of alumni and students at Brandeis of Hispanic heritage. The webinar addressed questions of implicit bias, community and belonging and gave alumni a space to share their thoughts on questions such as how their interactions with the non-Latinx community compared and contrasted to their interactions with the Latinx community. The discussion was organized by alum Elsie Morales Ramos ’72, whose mission is to “[promote] Latinx history at Brandeis and…connect Latinx alumni with each other and with students,” as described in an article from the Brandeis Alumni Association.
The Student Activism Collection documents the efforts of Grito, a student organization run by Ramos during her time at Brandeis that served as a resource and a community for Latinx students at Brandeis.
Furthermore, the Brandeis community can view course materials from the Hispanic Studies program that are a part of several Brandeis faculty collections, including but not limited to papers written by former chair of European Languages, Romance and Comparative Literature Denah Lida and founder of the American Studies program at Brandeis Lawrence Fuchs.
Overall, Brandeis students, faculty and staff are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month not only through the cultural celebrations of current students, but also through the commemoration of alumni experiences in the past.