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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Community continues Hispanic Heritage Month festivities

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

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

Honoring the contributions of Hispanic Americans throughout the nation’s history, Aggies are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through numerous campus and community events.
In 1968, Hispanic Heritage Week was first observed under President Lyndon Johnson and in 1988, it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to a 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Accounting senior Juan Ortiz is the president of the Hispanic Presidents’ Council, which kicked off the month of celebration with its Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Ceremony on Sept. 18.
“It’s not only a way for me to be proud of my culture, it also shows me to remind myself [of] the accomplishments of what Hispanic individuals have done, not only on our campus, but also in the nation,” Ortiz said. “This month always reminds me of that.”
The opening ceremony welcomed students with pan dulce, horchata and music from the Houston-based band Grupo Latitude.
“I’m from the [Rio Grande] Valley. … So for me it’s like a little piece of home,” Ortiz said. “Having sweet bread was amazing at this event. Horchatas taste just like at home and just being able to be in an environment where people are free to express themselves.”
The Hispanic Presidents’ Council has members from across Central and South America. Officers are from Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and El Salvador.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Ortiz said. “All those people unify and make what it [means] to be Hispanic.”
Extension program specialist Luis Saldana is the director of the Hispanic Presidents’ Council. This is Saldana’s second year with the council.
“I come from Mexico,” Saldana said. “I recently moved to the United States about four years ago, so when I came to A&M, I was like, ‘I need to find a place where I felt connected.’”
General Dave Garza, Class of 1977, was the speaker at the “Develop the Leader in You” presentation hosted by the National Hispanic Institute on Sept. 19.
“I’m super proud to be here in the celebration of Hispanic heritage month,” Garza said. “I heard today that 20 percent of the campus more or less is Hispanic Americans, so the progress we’ve made is tremendous.”
According to Ortiz, each event in Hispanic Heritage Month is for all students, as the month is intended to encourage cultural awareness.
“We’re trying to hit the Hispanic population of A&M, but we’re also trying to get that [non-Hispanic] population and just kind of help them know more about our culture,” Ortiz said. “I think especially now with a lot of tension going on in the nation, it’s good to remind ourselves why we’re all here — we’re here to learn from each other.”
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations will continue with film screenings, salsa nights and informative events until Oct. 20. For a full schedule, visit tx.ag/HHMevents.

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