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Austin Peay’s Latino Community Resource Center starts Latinx Heritage Month with kick-off event

By: Zoe Huffman September 19, 2023

Latinx Heritage Month

Austin Peay State University's Latino Community Resource Center (LCRC) celebrated the start of Latinx Heritage Month with a kick-off celebration on Sept. 15.

This marked the first of numerous events planned by the LCRC and coincided with the start of Family Weekend, a three-day event allowing parents and family members to experience the APSU community.

The director of the LCRC, Yanaraliz Barnes, framed the event as an introduction to a fun weekend for the families of APSU students.

"This year, we also get to collaborate with family weekend. So, not only are we celebrating Latino culture but also welcoming families into a whole weekend of events," Barnes said.

The kick-off celebration incorporated various activities, including arts and crafts, bouncy houses and live music. Attendees could experience Latinx culture through music, dancing, food, and activities.

The event was a hit among students and their families. APSU students from all years attended, enjoying the food, music, crafts and other activities.

Complimentary Latin cuisine was a hit among attendees, showcasing authentic Latin cooking and promoting Clarksville-area small businesses.

Latinx Heritage Month

'Representing their heritage'

First-year biology major Serena Diamond explained her excitement about the food and the local vendors at the event.

"I knew that [Delicias Colombianas] was going to be here because she's local within the Clarksville community," Diamond said. "And also just like being able to see different people come out and represent their country and their heritage."

The most notable feature of the event was the live music performed by the Nashville-based group Sunrise Latin Band.

"The music [was my favorite part] because some of the songs I hadn't heard before. And they're actually a group from Nashville, where I'm from. So I'm like, this is really new," said Lauren, a freshman liberal arts student.

The live music, coupled with dancing and crafts, called Nierika, were strong points of interest for onlookers and attendees.

"I like doing the art projects and listening to music at the same time. It's kind of cool watching people dance because I don't know how to do that. It looks cool," Kaia, a sophomore biology student, said.

Latinx Heritage Month

'Appreciate other cultures'

The kick-off event aimed to educate and engage the Austin Peay community about Latinx culture.

"I just hope that students appreciate other cultures and become aware of other cultures. We're all able to celebrate together and just have a good time," Kameliz Fuentes, an LCRC student assistant, said.

The date of the Kick-Off is also significant for Latin American countries, so Barnes hopes the events throughout Latinx Heritage Month will honor Latin history.

"Sept. 15 marks the anniversary of a lot of different Latin American independence days, so that's why the National Hispanic Heritage Month also starts on the 15th," Barnes said. "That's why we picked today."

Music, food and dancing are essential to Latin American culture and history. The Kick-Off event incorporated these aspects for attendees to experience them firsthand.

Music was a prevalent feature during the event, as a live band played popular Latin music in various genres.

"They're playing everything from Salsa, Merengue and Bachata. Then we also have our DJ who comes from Nashville just playing the hits like Reggaeton, Bachata and Salsa," Barnes said.

Latinx Heritage Month

Gaining visibility

The LCRC hopes that the events during Latinx Heritage Month will make the center more visible and motivate the APSU community to get involved.

"For us to be up here, it's amazing because we're visible, and we don't get to be that often. For people to be able to see and experience cultures that are different from theirs—to join us and have fun with us and celebrate our joy is something I hope sticks with students," Barnes said.

The LCRC will be hosting a plethora of events throughout Latinx Heritage Month. These events include a LinkedIn guide, an art exhibit and open mic night, and Pinata making.

"Come out and support us throughout the rest of the events," Barnes said. "I know we start things out with our big party, but there are other things happening all the way until Oct. 15. They're free of cost and everyone's welcome to all of the events. I just push for people to join us."

Please see the link below for more information about these events: https://peaylink.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/hispanic-cultural-center

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