Hispanic leaders at St. Norbert College raising awareness and getting ready for fun National Hispanic Heritage Month

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:01 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - Today, September 15, is the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The annual tradition started in 1968 and amplifies the voices in Hispanic culture and their contributions to our country.

Excitement surrounding the month of festivities was already seen on the St. Norbert College campus this morning. The Latine Student Union holds weekly meetings and is planning on potentially bringing educational speakers to start a dialogue with students and staff about the incarceration of black and brown people. Plus, they are hosting food and music events as soon as tomorrow night, September 16, starting with a Loteria Night, a card game event, for students.

“I want to celebrate our culture,” president of the Latine Student Union, Melissa Andrade, said. “I want to do some fun stuff this week. ... Our culture is not just all the bad things that people bring stereotypes toward. But, also we’re fun. We’re a community. We like to be together. Our cultures are very family based. I feel that really shows with our friendships and how we get involved with each other.”

Andrade was born in Wisconsin but raised in Mexico until she was 15. After finishing high school in Wisconsin, Andrade has already started her junior year at St. Norbert. She is studying political science and international studies - focusing on Latin America. A course load she said gives her more tools to continue advocating for her culture.

“What we’re trying to do this year, what I’m trying to do, is bring more awareness of our role in the American culture,” Andrade highlighted. “It’s not just that we’re Mexican. They’re American. We are part of the culture from the beginning.”

The Latine Student Union works closesly with the Multicultural Student Services at St. Norbert who provides staff and support for the students’ initiatives.

“You don’t have to change your culture, you don’t have to change who you are on this campus,” Lucia Sanchez, a member of the Latine Student Union, shared. “There’s not a lot of people who look like me, I guess you could say, here. So, something that I try to do is talk about my family’s history and struggles.”

The Latine Student Union is open to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic students.

“I talk about that perspective in the classroom and allow other students to understand,” Sanchez added. “Whether it’s just our struggles or our pride or the culture itself. I try to kind of engage other people in that.”

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends on October 15, we will be sharing stories of our Latino and Latina co-workers on WBAY’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Click on the platforms’ blue link to check out those features.)

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