Loyola Recognized and Rethinking Hispanic Heritage Month Through A School Wide Event 

Hispanic Heritage Month was created to honor Americans with Latino heritage, however some Chicagoans and Loyola students argue that the celebration lacks inclusivity.

This year, Loyola recognized Hispanic Heritage Month through a school-wide Lotería event, dining hall specials and raised awareness via social media.

Formerly known as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, National Hispanic Heritage Month was created in 1988, spanning from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

Carlos Tortolero is the president and founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, located at 1852 W 19th St. in the Lower West Side of Chicago. He expressed his frustration with the term Hispanic, stating that it makes reference to Spain. 

“I would never call myself Hispanic,” Tortolero said. “We’re Mexican and we’re Latino. If Hispanic is the correct word, then people in the United States should call themselves Britishers or Englanders,” referring to Britain’s colonization of America, just like Spain’s colonization of Central and South America. 

The term also excludes other members of their community, according to Tortolero.

“We have indigenious populations, we have African populations,” he said. “I think it’s important to emphasize that.” 

Matt McDermott, associate director of external communications for Loyola, said Loyola’s Twitter account acknowledged the month in a tweet sharing resources from LUC Libraries. The Department of Programming (DOP) also hosted an event on Wednesday, Sept. 21, he said in an email to the Phoenix.

On Thursday, Simpson Dining Hall featured a ‘local Latinx restaurant pop-up’, according to the Dine Loyola Instagram account.

Imelda Dominguez, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice and criminology, is the special events director for DOP. She said she chose Lotería, a game comparable to bingo, because it is a staple in her household and represents the Latino community.

“We really needed to do something to bring us together and also educate others too,” Dominguez said. 

Students who attended the event received churros and horchata, a form of sweetened rice milk, according to Dominguez.

Junior behavioral neuroscience major, Elizabeth Marquez, and junior political science major, Gabriela Sampsell, are the president and vice president of Loyola’s Latin American Student Association (LASO). 

Both Marquez and Sampsell said they are working towards fostering a tighter-knit Latinx community on campus, but have encountered challenges along the way. Marquez said she believes Loyola doesn’t do enough to acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month and minority groups in general.

“Struggling to get funding for events that shouldn’t be a struggle when it’s commemorating Latinx people is a bit disheartening,” Marquez said.

After requesting a “conservative” amount of funding to host an event next month for Hispanic Heritage Month, she said she didn’t receive the full funding she asked for. 

Sampsell said since taking on an e-board position this year, she now has a better understanding of why LASO has struggled to put on events in the past. 

“People have said ‘I miss LASO’ and that’s one of the reasons why this opportunity to be the vice president was so important to me,” she said. “I want to create a community of us on campus and for us to have a bigger presence. I see other minority groups have their voice and I love it. At the same time, I want that for us.”

Sampsell said she hopes LASO will have a larger presence on campus this year.

Featured image by Serena Thakkar | The Phoenix

Serena Thakkar

Serena Thakkar