Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month with UTEP

Alyson Rodriguez, Contributor


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  • A member of Mariachi Frontera performs “Que bonito es Chihuahua” at the El Grito ceremony on September 16, 2021

  • UTEP President Heather Willson gives an interview after the El Grito ceremony at the Centenial Plaza on September 16, 2021

  • A member of Mariachi Frontera performs “Que bonito es Chihuahua” at the El Grito ceremony on September 16, 2021

  • A member from the Instituto Technológico de Cuidad Juarez band and color guard team waves a Mexican flag on September 16, 2021

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¡Feliz 16 de septiembre! ¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva la independencia nacional! ¡Viva Hidalgo! ¡Vivan los heroes que nos dieron patria!   

Hispanic Heritage Month began Sept. 15. Across the country, the citizens celebrate all the contributions and influence of Hispanic culture in American history. 

The month was established in 1968 under the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Originally the celebration only lasted a week, but it was extended by President Ronald Reagan to one month. Schools and universities around the country commemorate this special month with concerts, presentations, and exhibits.  

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to share the inspiring stories of Latinx people from all around the world that we don’t often get to see in the mainstream media and culture. Being in a city such as El Paso it is important for us to celebrate the culture of the community that we’re in,” said Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, a professor of Chicano Studies at UTEP. 

At UTEP the Chicano Studies department and the Student Engagement and Leadership Center have joined forces to host many activities and events to observe the month.  

“This year the Hispanic Heritage celebration centers on Latino recipients of the Medal of Honor. Many of whom are from the El Paso/Juarez region. We wanted to raise awareness about the role of Latino veterans in the military,” said Dr. Dennis Bixler-Marquez, director of the UTEP Chicano Studies department. 

Events for this celebration include everything from arts and exhibits to conferences and everything in between. “Big Ideas for USA/Mexico Border Prosperity: On Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future Symposium” will take place at UTEP and the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. The “Alejandro Fernandez: Hecho En Mexico Tour 2021” concert will be at 8 p.m., Sept. 18, at the Don Haskins Center. Happening now through December is the “Chico MacMurtrie: Border Crossers” exhibit being shown from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, on the UTEP campus, off University Avenue near the Sun Bowl parking lot. There is also a book presentation “Hope Lighting: Testimonios of Mothers and Caretakers Raising Children with Special Needs and Abilities on the U.S.-Mexico Border” Oct. 20 by Associate Professor Sociology and Anthropology Gina Nunez-Mchiri, director of UTEP’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program. There will also be many panel presentations including “Growing Our Own: Developing and Supporting Tomorrow’s Latino College Leaders” by UTEP’s Higher Education Leadership faculty at 4 p.m. Oct. 6 in room 405 of the Education Building. A bilingual play “Cenicienta” will run from Aug. 16 to Nov. 3, sponsored by UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance.  

“I think this is an important time to commemorate our complicated history,” Carrizal-Dukes said. “We should bring awareness to this history, but also bring pride and inspiration. There are so many wonderful things to consume about our rich culture.”  

She said UTEP students should participate in Hispanic Heritage month because it’s possible that they weren’t taught about their culture in K-12.  

“It is their duty to learn as much knowledge as they can from different perspectives, and this is another perspective of our culture,” Carrizal-Dukes said.  

“UTEP’s El Grito Ceremony: Commemoration of the Declaration of Independence” was held Sept. 16 at Centennial Plaza. Special guests included Mauricio Ibarra, consul General of Mexico in El Paso, and the Bad and Color Guard from the ITCJ.  

“The goal that we have for Hispanic Heritage month is to have events that expands student’s knowledge about different facets of society in which Latinos are actively involved,” said Bixler-Marquez. “We’re making sure that the university’s public programming reflects who lives in the community. I want students to learn about the accomplishments and challenges that our ancestors faced and the history they have in this nation. It’s our job to pass this knowledge to the next generation.” 

To get more info on the events or to see what events are happening visit,  www.utep.edu/provost/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/event-calendar.html 

Alyson Rodriguez may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.