To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, Mi Gente hosted events to highlight their community and share their culture with the larger Duke community.
Latinx Heritage Month took place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and represented a time for people of Latinx heritage to celebrate their culture and legacy. The month aligns with celebrations of independence for many Latin American countries.
“Being a part of Mi Gente and the Latinx community at Duke is like a water source for me. You need to find a place where you fit, so coming from so far from home, it is nice to have a community with so much overlap that constantly supports and loves one another,” said junior Sophia Vera, vice president of Mi Gente.
Mi Gente is Duke’s largest Latinx student organization and strives to provide a community for Duke students who identify as Latinx or are advocates for the Latinx community. In addition to supporting and uplifting the Duke Latinx community in both academic and social aspects, Mi Gente aims to support other marginalized communities on campus and in Durham.
The first event Mi Gente had for Latinx Heritage Month was a Kick-off Block Party on the Bryan Center Plaza with performances, food and music.
Other events included a dance class with local Latin folklore dance group Takiri Folclor Latino, a painting and wellness night with DuWell in the Arts Annex and movie screenings of “In the Heights,” “Under the Same Moon,” and “Vivo.”
“It was super exciting to see a lot of first years and sophomores who are longing for community to come together after a long period of mainly virtual interactions. Turnout was great across the classes and alumni, and it was cool to see brand new faces, as well as older faces,” Vera said.
Mi Gente also held events that provided students with support in their academic and career journeys.
The Duke University Hispanic/Latino Alumni Association hosted a panel of Latinx alumni who discussed their professional endeavors. They focused “on experiences of perseverance and resilience,” wrote senior Leslie Leal Palacios, cultural chair of Mi Gente.
“It was great to see other Latinos coming back to support other Latinos,” Vera said.
Mi Gente also collaborated with other Duke centers, like the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, to host events exploring the intersectionality of diversity and identity. The group held a discussion with Jennicet Gutiérrez, a transgender Latina activist from Mexico and the co-director of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.
In partnership with the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team in the Office of University Scholars and Fellows, Mi Gente also hosted drop-in advising sessions for opportunities and fellowships for Duke students.
Beyond connecting with some of Duke’s resources for students, Mi Gente got more involved with the Durham community. Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson spoke with students about the importance of engaged citizenship, specifically in the context of Durham.
“Two recurring comments from our events were: ‘It’s so cool to see this many Latinx people in one place at Duke because I’ve never seen it happen before’, and ‘I love seeing my country and culture represented,’” Palacios wrote. “Being able to create these moments for students made me very happy that I could make them feel celebrated while at Duke.”
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Amy Guan is a Pratt junior and health and science news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.