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Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month at DePaul

Latinx Heritage Month
Left to right, students Scarlett Magana, Jessica Camacho, Georgina Quitana and Robbie Merkel are each engaged with the Latinx Cultural Center at DePaul and their Latinidad in different ways. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
Latinx Heritage Month is a time to recognize and honor people of Latinx heritage, their stories and their contributions to society. Juniors Georgina Quintana, Robbie Merkel and Jessica Camacho, and senior Scarlett Magana are Latinx students at DePaul, each engaged with the Latinx Cultural Center and their Latinidad in different ways.

“One misconception is that Latinx organizations are all the same and only fit one idea of a Latinx student,” Camacho says. A health sciences major, Camacho also is involved with Tepeyac, a student organization focused on faith, culture and service. “We are here to build a space for all kinds of Latinx students, as well as for anyone who wants to learn about our community.” 

Quintana serves as a Latinx programming assistant in the Office of Multicultural Student Success’ Latinx Cultural Center, and works closely with the center’s coordinator to plan events and outreach for DePaul’s Latinx community.

“The DePaul community has made Latinx heritage its own thing,” says Quintana, a double major in political science and Latin American and Latino studies. “We strive for a more inclusive and mindful community within the Latinx realm and to inform people of our different experiences.” 

The students’ majors, colleges and involvement span diverse offerings at DePaul, and their different perspectives and experiences have led them to address a range of issues on campus.

“I’ve been organizing an event called ‘Decolonizing ‘Latinx’ Culture as a part of the Intersect Series: Confronting Anti-blackness,’ which I’m really excited for,” Quintana says. Two guest speakers, student Angela Godoy and Jacqueline Lazú, an associate dean and associate professor in LAS and founder of the Inside Out Prison Exchange program, will speak at the event. 

“Both speakers are Afro-Latinx and will engage in story-telling to combat anti-blackness in the Latinx community,” Quintana adds.

Merkel, president of DePaul Alliance to Latinx Empowerment and a double major in political science and Latin American and Latino Studies, also is busy with Latinx Heritage Month event coordination. 

“DALE general body meetings always include discussion on different topics, but for this month we’ve changed it up,” he says. Earlier this month, the group held a piñata workshop in the Latinx Cultural Center. On Oct. 19, DALE will host a dodgeball event at the Ray to fundraise for orphans in Latin American countries. 

“We are excited to transition into our annual week of Dia de los Muertos celebrations on Oct. 24,” he says. “The week concludes with a big dance on Nov. 2.” 

Magana, an honors marketing student and member of American Latino Professionals for America, recently saw her vision come to fruition by establishing a Latinx community presence on the Loop Campus. 

“Our goal with ALPFA is to extend the Lincoln Park Latinx Cultural Center’s presence to the Loop while also acknowledging how cultural identity ties into corporate leadership and entrepreneurship,” she says. “ALPFA is new and on a different campus, so it can feel like there is a disconnect with the Latinx Cultural Center. With the help of the center’s coordinator, we organized a panel called ‘Latinx Womyn in Leadership and Entrepreneurship.’” 

Held earlier this month, the event featured a panel of four accomplished Latinx business professionals who shared stories about their careers and work experiences. 

Latinx Heritage Month can represent many different things for different kinds of people. Ultimately, it is about spreading knowledge and understanding about the Latinx community. Merkel, Quintana, Camacho and Magana come from a variety of places across the university and in life, but share the goal of strengthening Latinx ties among their peers and sharing their work with the broader DePaul community.

Upcoming events:

Cafecito con Tepeyac: Oscar Romero
Wednesday, Oct. 16
12:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park Student Center, room 104

Cafecito con Tepeyac: Dia de los Muertos
Wednesday, Oct. 23
12:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park Student Center, room 104

Tamale Sale
Wednesday, Oct. 30
5 - 8 p.m.
Lincoln Park Student Center

Cafecito con Tepeyac: Dia de los Muertos​
Wednesday, Oct. 30
12:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park Student Center, room 104

Dia de los Muertos Dance
Saturday, Nov. 2
7 - 10 p.m.
Cortelyou Commons