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The board of Princeton Latinos y Amigos at the Fall Galla, from left to right: Top row: Kauribel Javier, Samuel Vilchez, Maximo de la Cruz, Ana Patricia Esqueda, Carmella Asparrin, Michael Asparrin. Bottom row: Roberto Hasbun, Maria Jose Solorzano, Krystal Veras

By Roberto Hasbun

From a movie screening of “Selena” to a “Casino”-themed fall gala, students have been celebrating Latinx culture on campus. Princeton Latinos y Amigos, Carl A. Field Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, and Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization successfully organized the annual Latinx Heritage Month. The term latinx is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina.

“Latinx Heritage Month is meant to celebrate the many contributions that Latinx individuals have made to the larger society, while also affording us the opportunity to share our individual cultures and practices with one another,” said Kauribel Javier ’19, a member of the Princeton Latinos y Amigos executive board. 

“It is a moment for us to reflect on where the Latinx community has been, where we are now, and where we would like to be and how we wish to get there,” she added. Latinx Heritage Month started Sept. 18 and will end on Oct. 24.

Before the Latinx Heritage Month began, other events were already under way. Campus Club hosted Caja Loca, one of the first events for the first-years where music and food were provided to greet the new first-years and give them a glimpse of Latinx culture at the University.

“I hope that many Latino freshmen had the opportunity to witness for themselves the vibrant Latinx community that exists on Princeton’s campus.” Javier said.

The Hermanitas kick-off was one of the first events for Latinx Heritage Month and was held on Sept. 15. The mission of Hermanitas is to encourage Latina empowerment on campus. 

One of the most-attended events was the Latinx College Dinner in the Whitman Dining Hall. In this event, all of the Latin American flags were put on display and students were able to enjoy traditional Latino food. The menu included pupusas, baleadas, flautas de pollo, and yucca chips.

“I thought the dinner was very inclusive and fun. I had chicken enchilada, rice and more delicious food,” said Julia Walton ’21, who attended the dinner. Even though Walton is not part of the Latinx community, she felt included and welcomed. “The decorations were nice and it was interesting seeing all of the flags. I think there should be more dinners like this,” she said.

There was an event for Latinos in STEM as well as Latinos who identify with the LGBTQIA community. The diversity of events allowed different members of the latinx community to feel represented.

The fall gala titled “Latino Casino,” organized by the board of Princeton Latinos y Amigos, took place on Oct. 12. Guests took pictures at the photobooth and played classic Hispanic games like dominos and lotería. The raffle included prizes like bluetooth speakers, planners, and magic bullet blenders. Around the end of the event, tables were put aside and everyone started dancing bachata.

Guests at the gala also contributed towards the Puerto Rico fundraiser, an initiative by the Association of Latinx Activism and Service. More than $350 was fundraised that evening.

María José Solorzano Castro ’20, co-president of Princeton Latinos y Amigos, has some advice for the first-years. “Never doubt your place at Princeton. You belong here! Seek mentors. I would have not gotten through my first semester without the help of Latinx upperclassmen showing me the resources Princeton has to offer.”

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