In recognition of this heritage month, the Latin American and Latin@ Studies Program held a student led forum on October 12, from 5-8 pm at Shepard Hall. The event was co- sponsored by other organizations and supported by our department, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.
The guest speakers were Lorena Modesto, Ivonne Quiroz, Mercedes Olmsted, Sarah Aponte, and José Pérez.
Today is the last day of March, 2022, the start of the Spring season here in New York City, but we could also look at these fraught times as the start of more hopeful times to come. Changes, whether as frightening as the current war and the Pandemic, could be helping to raise our consciousness to clamor for greater and more positive changes in our society.
In one of our courses at LALS, specifically The Latina in Latinx Studies, we are currently studying the words of Latina writers across disciplines. We examine the contributions of Latinas in the late 20th century and the start of this one, as the documents that have helped to build the corpus of texts known today as Latinx Studies. These works, spanning the cultural and academic fields as well as grassroots- on the street activism- are the foundational documents that we study today. It is a growing body of work that develops ever more significance for liberatory and decolonial theory.
Today, we will share a link to a publication that connects Black women’s theoretical and political writing to Latina women’s activism from the late 1970s, when, as women of color/Third World women in the U.S., Black and Latina women worked together to do the hard work of thinking ourselves towards freedom consciousness. One of the foundational texts studied in our program, Latin American & Latin@Studies, is the Combahee River Collective Statement, which was written in 1977 and published in 1979. Personally, as the author of this post, I can tell you that I recall being present in meetings in the Boston area when Black lesbian feminist theories and activist, Barbara Smith, stood up to announce the publication of this now famous and indispensable statement.
You can read it here, by following this link to the J-STOR Annotation Series, and you can also print and download it to read it anytime. It is a serious text that demands study and concentration. Though it is clearly written in simple and direct language, the importance of these words by women of color cannot be read quickly. Indeed, these words should be read slowly and allowed to resonate within us, for they are intended to aid in the liberation of everyone, all people, of all colors, classes, and genders, ages and abilities. Enjoy, and Happy March 31, which is International Day of Transgender Visibility. Let us come together, support each other, and move forward.
Even though the use of the term Latinx in English has become quite commonplace, especially in activist and academic circles, many people in Latina/o communities in the U.S. are still discussing its merits and whether it is a word that everyone can use comfortably. The popular new program on You Tube, Prospecto Latino, which is part of VamosForward.com held a brief interview with LALS Prof. Mariana Romo-Carmona, about the subject.
Whether it’s about the use of the letter X, which tends to roll off the tongue more easily in English than it does in Spanish, or the fact that its connection with academia makes many people assume that it is an affectation rather than a real issue to take seriously, discussions about the term can be quite interesting. In fact, the use of the letter “X” on the East Coast harkens back of the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and its reference, as Malcom X did, to a protest of slavery and an unknown colonialist past. On the West Coast, its use connects it linguistically with the X from the original Nahuatl for Mexica, and the Xicano movement (Chicano/a), again with a reference to the protests of the Civil Rights Era.
Since about 2004, however, we recognize its usage as a way to question and challenge the binary of gender to point out that using the term “Latino” for Latin American and Caribbean heritage necessarily utilizes the letter “o” and therefore indicates the masculine gender in Spanish. Utilizing Latino/Latina makes the speaker and listener choose between genders, either masculine or feminine, thereby obviating the possibility of trans experience as well as the possibility of not having to choose a gender at all. Click on the link above to hear journalist Marlene Peralta of Prospecto Latino in conversation with Prof. Romo-Carmona. The discussion is in Spanish and it addresses many of these issues, including the use of the term in Latin American countries, along with the use of “e” as a neutral choice in Spanish, and the changing trends in the language today.
Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a day of remembrance and celebration of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout this country.
Indigenous people have remained resilient, innovative and invaluable long before the image of the United States. But for far too long, Indigenous populations and communities have been underrepresented and undervalued in our government and economic systems.
The federal policies we have in place today continue to disenfranchise and displace Indigenous people and eradicate their culture. It’s crucial that we never forget the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror brought upon these communities. And our government has an obligation to invest in the future of Indigenous people.
As we work together to shift our country towards one that values, empowers, and supports all communities of all colors, religions, races, and backgrounds, we need to prioritize the reparation and restoration of our neighboring Indigenous communities. We must be resilient in our fight for climate action and protecting natural resources, and end the economic profit-to-pollution pipeline for the health of our shared nation.
Today, we proudly recognize Indigenous people’s strength and the positive impact they have made on every aspect of our country. Today, along with every day moving forward, we must reaffirm our commitment to uplifting, investing, and celebrating Indigenous people and the cultures that make up our country.
We commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize and pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic-Americans who have positively influenced our nation and inspired others to achieve success. It is also a time to celebrate the traditions and history unique to the Hispanic and Latin cultures.
The timing of Hispanic Heritage Month is significant because it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of several Latin American nations—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. These nations declared their independence from Spain 200 years ago on September 15, 1821.
To follow are some ways to honor and connect with la cultura latina throughout the month and all year long.
to learn more. The event is free, but pre-registration is requested. Attend a Virtual Event
Virtual Pajama Party ~ 9/25 from 8:00pm-9:00pm ET
Geared toward children ages 8-12 and their families, this online event focuses on the themes of fairness, friendship, civil rights, and persisting through adversity. Participants will read and discuss Sylvia & Aki, an inspiring book based on the true story of civil-rights activist Sylvia Mendez. The program will feature Ms. Mendez and the book’s author, Winnifred Conkling. Click here
Panel Discussion on Children’s and YA Latinx Literature ~ 10/11 @ 6:00pm-7:00pm ET
Join the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress and Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) in a virtual celebration of children’s and YA Latin American and Latinx literature. Panelists will share their creative processes, discuss where they find inspiration, and how they address difficult themes. Click here
Homegrown: Cambalache ~ 9/29 from 12:30pm-1:00pm ET
Enjoy traditional san jarocho through this online performance by Cambalache, a Chicano-Jarocho group based in East Los Angeles. The program will premiere on Facebook and YouTube and be available for viewing afterwards on these sites. Click here to learn more and add the event to your calendar.
Connect with History and Culture
The PALABRA Archive
Featuring original audio recordings of 20th and 21st century Luso-Hispanic poets and writers reading from their works, this archive close to 800 recordings, a portion of which are available here for online streaming.
MOLAA EN CASA
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), based in Long Beach, CA, can be explored from anywhere in the world. Click here to explore the museum’s online exhibitions featuring a wide array of modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.
Hispanic Heritage @ history.com
Visit the History Channel Online to learn more about milestones in Hispanic history; the origins of the terms Latino, Hispanic, Latinx, and Chicano; how Sonia Sotomayor saved baseball; and much more!
Learn How to Latin Dance
The studio’s renowned instructors teach you how to salsa from the comfort and convenience of your mobile device. Whether you’re a beginner learning the basics, or need to brush up on your skills, the video library contains over 100 videos, with new lessons released each week. Click here to learn more about online classes, and if you’re in the DC-area, check out the physical school.
Watch and Learn
This 6-part documentary from PBS chronicles the rich and varied experiences of Latinos who have helped shaped America over the last 500+ years. Click here to view online or download the PBS Video app.
Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, and actor John Leguizamo are a few of the Latinx trailblazers featured in this 8-part docuseries. Each episode takes a closer look at their beginnings, family, friends, struggles and successes. Episodes can be viewed on Peacock, NBC’s free streaming service. While you’re there, check out featured Latino programs as well!
This Spanish-language streaming service offers an unmatched collection of films and shows. Download the Pantaya app on your mobile device or visit the website to learn more.
Other suggestions include supporting Latina-owned businesses, learn how to perfect authentic dishes from Peru to Costa Rica alongside Latin American chefs, check out the Billboard Latin Music Awards on Telemundo, or check out the daily Google Doodle spotlighting the Latino experience all month long.
We also encourage you to check your local listings and community boards for online and in-person events in your area.
However you choose to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, we hope all of your celebrations are safe and meaningful.
This recent DSA oral history project has brought together current and past board members of the Dominican Studies Association (DSA).
Members of the Dominican Studies Association (DSA) collaborated with the CONEXIÓN Dominican Republic proposal for the 17th La Biennale di Venezia 2021. This year’s 17th International Architecture Exhibition, titled “How will we live together,” is curated by Hashim Sarkis. In keeping with the biennale’s theme, members of the DSA board aim to answer one question: how will we live together? / ¿cómo viviremos juntos? As immigrants or first/second generation Dominicans in the United States, DSA board members engage in dialogue about inclusion/exclusion in spaces on the island or their host/home country. Board members reflect upon their personal and professional experiences, where they discuss inclusive spaces and how these might be expanded.
On October 19th, 2021, during Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latin American & Latina/o Studies Program (LALS) is continuing to present programming relevant to the Latinx experience. Professor Norma Fuentes-Mayorga has prepared a special talk for our Department, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. Professor Mayorga will be speaking about the key role of Professors and Mentors in Minority-Majority Schools as part of the First Generation Empowerment Workshop. This talk will take place at 12:30pm-1:45pm and the link to register is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd0iytapFKd5V8wmzj5bWQRxr5_kVVY3fJqPbkZW0e6AuE5Mw/viewform
In addition, Dr. Fuentes Mayorga has led a special workshop: “Pigmentocracy: Hispanics, Colorism & the LatinX Generation” which was prepared for Adelante: Hispanic and Latino Professionals & the LatinX Decoded Network, on September 24, 2021 (12-2pm).
Dr. Fuentes-Mayorga will also be presenting “The US Hispanic Population & The Challenges of Ambiguous Racial Identities” on October 12th, 2021 (2-3pm), prepared for Diageo and Diageo Cares. She is Assistant Professor in Sociology in Latin American and Latina/o Studies.
This September/October Hispanic Heritage Month celebration during 2021, we are celebrating with a fascinating lecture on the making of Puerto Rican identity in the US specifically related to musical culture. Dr. Rojo Robles, a faculty member at Baruch College Black and Latino Studies Department, will be presenting a talk during one of our classes on Zoom. The talk is entitled Salsa, reggaetón y nación: Race, music and the building of the Puerto Rican Identity.
Our class, LALS 10200, Latin American & Caribbean Civilization, taught by LALS faculty member, Dr. Mariana Romo-Carmona, will welcome Dr. Robles via Zoom on Tuesday, October 5th, from 5:00-6:15 pm. This lecture is open to LALS students and faculty. In order to attend, contact Prof. Romo-Carmona at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a Zoom link.
The Latin American & Latin@ Studies Program of the Colin Powell School at City College can be found online here https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/latino as well as on this page on the Commons Our program Director is Dr. Iris López. Full time faculty include Dr. Norma Fuentes Mayorga, and Dr. Sherrie Baver.
Our LALS professor, Dr. José Laguarta Ramírez, presented “Rethinking Puerto Rican Studies in a Moment of Danger” at a recent one-day symposium at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. Professor Laguarta examines and contextualizes Puerto Rican History in Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY, and considers the field in terms of interdisciplinary studies, intersectionality, and critical race studies, among other issues. The presentation can be viewed by accessing this link. You can also watch other presentations from the symposium.
The Russell Sage Foundation, in partnership with the Economic Mobility and Opportunity program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is pleased to announce twenty-one awards made in the second round of their Pipeline Grants Competition. Together, these research projects by emerging scholars represent a wide range of innovative research on economic mobility and access to opportunity in the United States. The RSF-Gates Pipeline Grants initiative is designed to support early- and mid-career tenure-track scholars who are underrepresented in the social sciences and to promote diversity broadly, including racial, ethnic, gender, disciplinary, institutional, and geographic diversity.
Among the scholars funded is Professor Norma Fuentes-Mayorga, of the Latin American & Latin@ Studies Program. Congratulations!