La Casa Latina, the main community space for Latinx students at Penn, has been organizing various cultural events to promote greater awareness of Latinx issues and culture on campus during the month. Most of the events are taking place from mid-September to mid-October.
To welcome incoming first-year students to Penn, La Casa Latina worked with the Latinx Coalition to offer a preceptorial during New Student Orientation. According to La Casa Latina Director Krista Cortes, the preceptorial included a student panel, welcoming remarks from the director, and a space for incoming Latinx students to connect.
On Sept. 15, La Casa Latina kicked off Latinx Heritage Month with the Procession of Flags, where students walked through campus waving flags from Latin American and Caribbean countries and islands as music played in the background.
After, La Casa Latina held an open house “to start the month off celebratorily,” Cortes said.
Throughout the rest of the month, La Casa held other events to bring the Latinx community together, such as a Graduate Student Bienvenida, a book talk on “My AfroRican State of Soul” by Lucas Rivera, and a lecture honoring civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.
The month of programming also included a “cafecito” with former program coordinator for Penn’s Greenfield Intercultural Center Rubi Pacheco-Rivera, where attendees discussed the experience of being a Latinx student at Penn. Pacheco-Rivera also discussed the beginning and evolution of La Casa Latina.
On Sept. 22, La Casa Latina held the Lucas Rivera Poetry Reading and Performance Event at DuBois College House. Rivera is an Afro-Latinx interdisciplinary artist whose work speaks to struggles like imposter syndrome, displacement, and disempowerment.
“There is so much wisdom that can be shared across generations. It is a really nice, refreshing program to kind of go to when you are often siloed,” Director of Greenfield Intercultural Center Valerie de Cruz said.
This month, La Casa Latina held a performance, La Rumba Que Trajo El Barco, outside DuBois College House.
On Oct. 10, another event, titled the Inner Voice with Motivos, will focus on storytelling and self-expression.
“It’s important for us to continue to show the multiplicity within Latinidad and the many different ways people live out their Latinidad. It’s not just one thing, but people believe that or they assume. They try to box us in, and I am always like, we have to break out of that box and take up space,” Cortes said.