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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Celebración en Aggieland

Hispanic+Heritage+month+gives+the+students+of+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+a+chance+to+learn+the+contributions+Hispanic+culture+has+brought+the+U.S.
Courtesy

Hispanic Heritage month gives the students of Texas A&M a chance to learn the contributions Hispanic culture has brought the U.S.

As the fall season approaches, the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, or HHM, makes its annual debut. According to the official National Hispanic Heritage Month website, the celebration first started as a single week in the year of 1968 under former President Lyndon B. Johnson, not being enacted into law until Aug. 17, 1988 by proclamation of former President Ronald Reagan, extending to a full month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

As of fall 2021, Hispanic students make up 24.9% of the population in Aggieland, earning Texas A&M the Hispanic-Serving Institution title. With such a large percentage of the school population fitting into the Hispanic community, the recognition of HHM will give thousands of A&M students a celebration either to host or to participate in themselves. 

History and anthropology senior Maria Benavidez, Hispanic Presidents’ Council, or HPC director of operations, said HHM has value both nationwide and here in Aggieland. 

“To me, personally, [HHM is the time] … to emphasize and promote and spread awareness, one of Hispanic Latino, Latina, Latinx heritage, to celebrate it as well since not everything is about educating the public,” Benavidez said. “It’s also time for [organizations] to celebrate and be able to be in the spotlight, especially with the … HHM kickoff and … being on the official Texas A&M HHM calendar. It’s time for them to be recognized for all the work they do here since they’re the ones creating a lot of the spaces for Hispanic and Latinx and Latino, Latina students here.”

Even though Hispanic students make up nearly 25% of the A&M student population, some still find their cultural connections severed once they move away from their homes and are no longer in proximity to their cultural identity. But, this rift can allow students to reach out and build communities based on shared identities. Benavidez commented on how she has a established a home on campus during her first years at A&M. 

“[When] I first came here … we had COVID[-19] my freshman spring semester to essentially all of my sophomore year, so coming back it was really time for me personally [to] find a home and really make this ‘home away from home,’” Benavidez said. “You have so many different ethnicities and nationalities of Hispanic and Latinx people here that I wouldn’t normally get at home … [and] it really brings to life a lot more Hispanic identities and Latinx identities … Being part of the Hispanic Presidents Council has been a really good way to get connected to more and more Hispanic and Latinx [organizations] and people.”

Aggieland does more than just acknowledge HHM, as the community will host a month-long celebration of events across the Bryan-College Station area, ranging from interactive events to history lectures to dinners. Aside from HPC hosting the HHM Kickoff and helping manage the events, organizations such as Mexican Student Association will take the reins for their own events. 

the tax rate on the agenda, then no — we’re going to settle on the no new revenue rates on the 29th, unless they’re willing to negotiate.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Nancy Berry said the canceled meeting created issues that extend beyond the early voting decision. 

“By not showing up, the county couldn’t do business,” Berry said. “The jail can’t order food for inmates — they may run out of food for the inmates. We sent four new hires home because we couldn’t approve their hiring. Grants weren’t able to be submitted. We couldn’t do business. We couldn’t pay bills.”

At the July 5 commissioners court meeting, Berry voted against an early voting location in the MSC. After speaking with her, psychology junior and MOVE Civics Engagement Director Sabrina Wren said Berry may go back on her initial vote. 

“She was saying that she would vote to reinstate the MSC as an early voting location and was planning on it,” Wren said. “However, her colleagues did not show up, so she wasn’t allowed to. But next meeting, which is next [Tuesday], she is planning on voting to reinstate it.”

Unlike Berry, Wren said Precinct 4 Commissioner Irma Cauley was devoted to her initial decision about the MSC location. 

“We asked if we could count on her support at the next meeting and, she said no, because it wasn’t fair to the real residents of Bryan-College Station, which we feel is unfair because A&M students are real residents of Bryan-College Station,” Wren said. 

Given there are at least three commissioners present, the court plans to meet again on Sept. 20. Samuel said herself and several other students from MOVE plan to attend. 

“Just proving not only that, it’s important for us, but also that it’s extremely doable,” Samuel said.  “On every single argument they were telling us about it not being so, is pretty much incorrect.”

“We broke the record this year, we have 24 events on our HHM calendar … and then at our kickoff event [on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. at] Rudder Plaza, we have 17 organizations and departments coming together to do activity booths,” Benavidez said. “It’s really big this year, and I’m really proud … [showing] that we’re a Hispanic-serving institute now and … that there are Hispanic Latino, Latina, Latinx people all across campus. They’re in so many different departments, so many different student [organization] groups … and they’re willing to come together to celebrate [HHM].”

With a festivity as big as HHM, misconceptions on the celebration can arise, such as what, specifically, is being celebrated, or most commonly, who falls under the Latino, Latina, Latinx categories. Benavidez clears the air on such misunderstandings and states the importance between a balance of identity, open-mindedness and history. 

“I think one thing about HHM is that, although it does use the word Hispanic, it’s also for Latino, Latina, Latinx people, it’s for Chicano people, it’s for people of all different ethnicities, nationalities [and] races,” Benavidez said. “We’re all here to celebrate culture and heritage and it’s important to look to the past and recognize that [we have] come a long way … It’s open to everyone, so even if you’re not Hispanic Latino, Latina, Latinx you can always join in and learn something or just celebrate with other people.”

For more information on HHM at Aggieland, visit the dms.tamu.edu.

 

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