Latinx Heritage Month comes to campus and the community

Traditional dancing

Music, lectures, poetry, dance, food, art and more are part of the rich cultural celebrations and events honoring Latinx Heritage Month at the UO and beyond.

Choices abound: Hear a poetry slam with Melissa Lozada-Oliva; attend events with Helena María Viramontes, author of this year’s UO Common Reading book; check out the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebrations, the Springfield Museum’s exhibit on traditional dress of Mexican horseman or one of the many Lane County Fiesta Cultural Events.

Officially called National Hispanic Heritage Month by the federal government and celebrated Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the UO honors the culturally preferred and more appropriate term Latinx Heritage Month and expands events through early November. The term “Latinx” relates to people of Latin American origin or descent and is used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina.

The range of UO and community events provide the entire university a host of opportunities to celebrate and learn about the many contributions members of the LatinX community have made to the UO, Oregon and the nation.

“We are delighted to support our campus partners in providing high-quality events to commemorate Latinx History Month, and we encourage all of our faculty, staff and students to participate in as many of these events as possible,” said Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh. “At the same time, campus celebrations and community recognitions are no substitute for inclusion, equity and diversity. Each of us has a role to play in making sure that we are hiring as well as retaining Latinx faculty, supporting Latinx students and doing our part to fulfill the promise of democracy and humane treatment for all of our Latinx brothers and sisters.”

Read Alex-Assensoh’s full essay on Latinx Heritage Month 2019 on the Equity and Inclusion Latinx Heritage Month website.

Main UO events include those offered by Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies; UO Common Reading, coordinated by the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success; and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

The center is offering two events with Melissa Lozada-Oliva, an American poet and educator based in New York. Her poem “Like Totally Whatever” won the 2015 National Poetry Slam Championship. The Oct. 9 events include a Teach-In: Language and Poetry as Resistance, 10 to 11 a.m. at the Knight Library Browsing Room, and a Latinx Heritage Month Poetry Slam, 4-5 p.m. in Room 240C, McKenzie Hall.

The UO Common Reading program will host three events with Helena María Viramontes, author of this year’s selection, “Under the Feet of Jesus.” Viramontes is an author, educator, lecturer and community organizer and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the John Dos Passos Award for Literature. She is the former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association and currently is the Goldwin Smith Professor of English at Cornell University.

Viramontes will present a public lecture at 4 p.m. Oct. 21 in the EMU ballroom and a workshop on teaching writing for faculty members and graduate employees at 10 a.m. Oct. 23. She will also give a public reading and discussion at the Eugene Public Library at 6 p.m. Oct. 22. For more information, check the Common Reading website.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art will present an exhibition in conjunction with the common reading book. The “Common Seeing” exhibition, “Resistance as Power: A Curatorial Response to ‘Under the Feet of Jesus,’” opens Sept. 7 and continues until Feb. 23. It includes two special loans from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, “Farm Workers’ Altar” by Emanuel Martinez and “Braceros” by Domingo Ulloa.

The art museum also will offer a number of Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead events. Mexican photographer Fernando Soto will present “Day of the Dead: Hanging Altars of Coatetelco and Other Expressions from Morelos” in Spanish and English at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30. From 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 1 and 2, the museum’s celebrations will include altars with offerings and traditional art, music, dance, food, flowers and poetry as part of the remembrance and welcoming of souls journeying to the world of the living.

Activities also will take place in Eugene, Springfield and across the county and state. The Lane Arts Council’s Fiesta Cultural! is sponsoring more than 40 Latinx arts and cultural activities from September through December. The Springfield Museum presents the “Traditional Dress and Mexican Horseman or Charro Equipment” exhibit through Oct. 26.

For more information on events and activities, see the Division of Equity and Inclusion website.

—By tova stabin, University Communications