From September 15 to October 15, our campus celebrates Latinx Heritage Month. This year the theme is Transplanting Traditions. The 2023 theme honors shared Latinx heritage, recognizing that many customs, communities, and cultures have been transplanted across the world. Though aspects of Latinx culture have been taken by mainstream society, this month celebrates the ways in which Latinx communities cultivate and spread traditions–through generations, and into new spaces.
To educate, connect, and celebrate these deeply rooted cultures, the Latinx Heritage Month Planning Committee (LHMPC) – part of UW-Madison’s Latinx Cultural Center within the Multicultural Student Center – is hosting several events and activities on campus.
On September 15, members of the UW–Madison Latinx community kicked off the month at the annual March Up Bascom event. Students and staff gathered at the bottom of the hill and then marched up the hill carrying flags and playing music. This event recognizes and acknowledges the many different identities that make up the Latinx community.
Upcoming Latinx Heritage Month events this year range from Taste of Tradition: Mastering Masa, to the month’s keynote event, Queer Brown Vegan: A Conversation with Isaias Hernandez, a queer, Latinx climate educator, researcher, and activist from Los Angeles. Finally, the month will end with the Latine Ball, an annual event collaborating with the Latine Student Union.
Natalie Ergas, program coordinator for the Latinx Cultural Center, says this year’s theme Transplanting Traditions intends to honor shared Latinx heritage, recognizing that many customs, communities, and cultures have been transplanted across the world.
“We wanted to consider how Latinx cultures and communities come from different spaces and how that affects traditions,” Ergas says. “We asked ourselves: how can we uplift and honor these cultures when students are coming from many different places, cultures, and experiences?”
Kelly Carranza, Latinx Heritage Month student intern for the Latinx Cultural Center, hopes the month allows students to “find their sense of self and discover what they can truly bring to the table.”
Being from Madison herself, Carranza sometimes found it difficult to find a supportive community that understood her. “This month is the first time I get to celebrate my identity in a greater place, and that means so much to me,” Carranza shares.
From native plants and cultural foods to beauty trends and Latin beats, Latinx heritage flourishes far and wide. This month, let’s gather as a campus to honor, celebrate, and learn about Latin American cultures and identities.
Latinx Heritage Month at UW–Madison is a student-driven effort supported by the Latinx Cultural Center (LCC)/Multicultural Student Center, which is celebrated across the campus community.
History of Latinx Cultural Center
In February of 2018, Josue Velazquez, Jonathan Godinez, Michelle Navarro, and Alondra Avitia, now recent alums, connected at a social justice leadership retreat and began discussing Latinx issues on campus. The idea for a Latinx Cultural Center (LCC) was inspired by the student activism happening on campus regarding the establishment of the current Black Cultural Center (BCC) and the developing work for the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Student Center.