YouTube video and poster campaign raises cultural awareness
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 07:04
In celebration of Latina Month this year, the Office of the Advisor for Latina Students collaborated with Mezcla, Alianza, Cielito Lindo and Mezcla’s Familia organization to bring a series of cultural events to the Wellesley College campus. Events included the 10th annual Latina Cultural Show, an alumnae panel and a screening of the film “La Hija Natural” (“Love Child”).
“The main goals [of Latina Month] are to celebrate the cultural diversity that Latino students, faculty and staff bring to the college community, as well as raise awareness about issues affecting the Latina community and beyond,” Mared Alicea-Westort, advisor to Latina students, said. “In short, it is a time to celebrate being Latina.”
However, Latina Month is not just intended for Latina students.
“It’s great to see your friends celebrating their cultures, but it also includes people who really have an appreciation for the [Latina] culture,” Dorthea Damaskos ’12, Mezcla’s communications chair, said.
One of the main events of Latina Month, the Latina Cultural Show, featured music, poetry and dance routines from various on-and-off-campus groups. The performances represented a variety of cultural traditions from countries such as Peru, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
“I enjoyed the show,” Erin Davis ‘15 stated. “It was very entertaining and well worth my time.”
Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), delivered this year’s keynote address for Latina Month. MALDEF, the largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States, promotes social change for the Latino community through education, communication and litigation in the areas of employment, education, political access and immigration rights.
“We asked people what they were interested in and what subjects they wanted to hear about, and he was one of our top choices,” Raquel Zepeda ‘14, Mezcla’s co-lecture chair, said.
In his speech, Saenz described the political landscape in the United States, focusing on immigration as one particular issue that MALDEF focuses on nation-wide.
“There was a sense of historical memory that he was giving us, especially related to MALDEF and [the story behind] its creation,” Damaskos said. Saenz also covered educational initiatives spearheaded by MALDEF.
Additionally, Mezcla launched a poster campaign to promote awareness of common stereotypes that Latinas face in everyday life. The theme this year, “What People (Shouldn’t) Say to Latinas,” followed the template of the enormously popular YouTube video trend, “Sh*t People Say.” Posters featured questions like “Do you even go here?,” “Do you speak Mexican?” and “How old were you when you crossed the border?” A video version of the campaign appeared during the Latina Cultural Show and was uploaded on YouTube, garnering more than a thousand hits, according to Alicea-Westort.
“[The poster campaign] circled around things that our members have heard throughout their lives and, yes, here at Wellesley,” Damaskos said. “We wanted to get people to start to question [what they say]. You know, ‘Oh! I’ve said that type of thing before. I didn’t know that wasn’t okay.’ And then to have that start a dialogue with other people.”
“It definitely grabs your attention,” Joanna Concessao ’13 said. “It definitely makes you stop and think.”
Overall, Damaskos believes that Latina Month has been a success so far this year.
“The events that I have gone to have been well-attended and inspirational to a certain degree,” she said. “And [Latina Month] is about visibility; it’s about making our cultures present.”
The program for Latina Month is slated to wrap up tomorrow, April 26, with a poetry performance by spoken word activist Dino Foxx at 4:30 p.m. in the Multifaith Center titled “Oh the Drama!” An appreciation dinner will also be held in honor of Latino employees at 7 p.m. in the Zeta Alpha House.