Latinx community to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with festival

Hispanic Heritage Month — honoring the history, culture and contributions of Americans whose ancestry can be traced to Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain — runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, but Pitt will start its celebration early on Sept. 14 with the second annual Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-off Festival.

The event, from 3 to 6 p.m. on the William Pitt Union lawn, is spearheaded by Pitt's Latinx Student Association, which is only a year and a half old. 

There will be empanadas from The Colombian Spot, music provided by WPTS, dancing lessons by Pitt Salsa Club and games like musical chairs, pin the flag on the country, and loteria.

More than 15 organizations will be tabling at the event including Roberto Clemente Minority Business Association, Spanish Club, Brazil Nuts, Latino Community Center, Community Justice Project, CMU Salsa, Latin American Graduate Organization of Students and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

A committee chaired by Gina Garcia, assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, and the Latino Student Association, has developed a directory of Hispanic Heritage Month 2019 activities that center around cultural, educational, social and advocacy principles.

The committee includes representatives from across the University, as well as from local organizations and other colleges and universities in Pittsburgh, so that a comprehensive list of activities can be compiled.

An official Hispanic Heritage video was created by Student Affairs.

Other upcoming events include:

  • Pitt–Greensburg is will screen three Latinx-related films this semester in its “Latin American Stories” film series. The first is “Spare Parts” — about four Hispanic high school students who form a robotics club and with no experience and $800 bucks go up against the country's reigning robotics champion, MIT. 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in Village Hall 118.

  • Latino Leaders Gathering: Building Prosperity Through Partnership will include representatives from: Pitt Global, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Hispanic/Latinx Professional Association, and the Latinx Student Association. 4-6 p.m. Sept. 18, 4130 Posvar Hall

  • Immigration Issues Breakfast, part of the Pitt Honors Alumni Breakfast series, will feature Monica Ruiz, executive director at Casa San Jose, a community resource center that advocates for and empowers Latinos by promoting integration and self-sufficiency. RSVP required. 8 a.m. Sept. 24, Cathedral of Learning, 35th floor lounge.

The list of activities will continue to grow. Departments and groups that wish to have Hispanic Heritage Month activities included on the web directory, can submit information online.

— Susan Jones