Written by Alma Aguilar
Megaphone Staff Writer
[Editor's Note: We, at the Megaphone, apologize to Alma Aguilar for the printing error in the textual version of the Megaphone. Due to a printing error, a whole column was lost and never found.]
The Latino Heritage Symposium will take place at Southwestern University in the McCombs Ballroom April 25-26. The symposium’s objective is to address social issues and obstacles that challenge Latinos in their pursuit of success. Among these issues are education, immigration, citizenship, language, identity, health, gangs and drug dealing.
“It’s an event dedicated to help educate the SU and Georgetown communities about issues Latinos and members of other minorities face,” Linda Pena, Latinos Unidos Parliamentarian, said.
They would like to use this event to bring people together to voice their opinions on issues that face Latinos as well as other minorities in our society.
“The Latino Heritage Symposium will help create dialogue between Latinos and people of other cultures.” Pena said.
The symposium will be composed of several lectures, workshops and possibly some exhibits. Some SU professors have already agreed to present during the event.
“There will be a mix, such as Communication Studies professor Hector Amaya and professor of Religion and Philosophy Alejandro de Acosta,” sophomore Hector Ruiz, Latinos Unidos vice president, said.
Community members such as Diana Maldonado, president of the Round Rock ISD school board and award-winning government efficiency expert, will also be present to voice their opinions on Latino issues.
According to sophomore Erin Fonseca, Latinos Unidos president, the symposium has been held at SU before. Latinos Unidos took it upon themselves to make this third time the event was offered to students the best yet.
“We wanted to make an event and make it a success. It’s important for the community to know the issues that Latinos face on an everyday basis,” Fonseca said.
This year, the symposium’s theme is “Achieving Success as a Latino: Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers.”
For Fonseca, this theme signifies that minorities at times face different barriers that they must overcome in order to reach success.
“Latinos have to overcome things that others sometimes do not while staying true to their culture,” Fonseca said.
The organization, with some help, has been working since January of this year to make sure the event is a success.
“Latinos Unidos has been organizing this, with some help from Ms. Ebony Rose,” Pena said
Even though this is the Latino Heritage Symposium, they have been making an effort to incorporate other organizations that represent on-campus minority groups.
“We are reaching out to other organizations such as Ebony, Asia Club, International Club, SU Natives,” Ruiz said.
This semester, Southwestern has had a couple of other events going on, which makes Ruiz slightly concerned about attendance.
“There are other symposiums and speakers, I’m worried that the campus will not be motivated to come,” Ruiz said.
Nonetheless, Latinos Unidos is making a strong effort to get others involved.
“People from other schools have already confirmed that they will be attending. Some alumni have already said they are coming, and they have also offered to help with what they can,” Ruiz said.
In order to put on this event, Latinos Unidos will be using money from its budget in order to pay event costs. Other organizations on campus have also contributed funds in order to make this event possible.
“We got money from the Diversity Enrichment Community, whose purpose is to promote diversity. Also from the Community Chest, which is a group that allocates money to organizations in order to promote campus involvement,” Ruiz said.
This symposium is a free event, and anyone from the community is welcome to attend.
“This event is open to anyone who is interested in learning about the problems minorities are currently facing in the educational system,” Pena said.
If anyone would like more information about the Latino Heritage Symposium or would like to volunteer, you may contact any Latinos Unidos officer.