Hispanic Heritage Month 2022: ILS Kicks off Festivities at Notre Dame

Author: Institute for Latino Studies

Latinx Hhm Photo

As pandemic restrictions ease around the globe, the Institute for Latino Studies is gearing up for its annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Begun in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson as a week-long commemoration, and later expanded to its current format by President Ronald Reagan, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th to October 15th. Several of the 27 countries that comprise Latin America celebrate their independence during this time of year.

This year's festivities at Notre Dame kick off at noon Thursday, September 15th, with food trucks featuring Latin cuisine, music, and games on the steps of Bond Hall, home to the ILS.

Later that evening, ILS Director Luis Fraga, the Rev. Donald P. McNeill, C.S.C. Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership, will deliver a lecture entitled “Latinos and the Reshaping of American Politics”; a post-event reception and voter registration drive hosted by the Latinx Student Association will follow.

"Hispanic Heritage Month is a perfect time to remember all of the accomplishments and progress that Latinas/o/x families have made," Fraga said. "Just as important is using the time to reflect on how each of us can work to maintain that progress."

The second week of programming will feature Notre Dame Trustee and Vanir Chairwoman and CEO Dorene C. Dominguez ’85, as part of ILS’s Transformative Latina/o Leadership series. The Monday, Sept 19th lecture will offer free Chick-fil-A for lunch while supplies last.

On Thursday, September 22nd, members of the Hispanic Alumni of Notre Dame will hold a virtual panel sharing their experiences with undergraduate students. Many are pioneers in their career fields aiming to mentor ND students.

Then, a two-day poetry gathering is slated for Tuesday, September 27th and Wednesday, September 28th. Letras Latinas, the literary arm of ILS, will host six contemporary AfroLatin poets, as well as six scholars commentating on their work, as part of “Afro-Latinx Poetry Now." The hope is to spur conversation and community building through lyrical verse-making, said Letras Latinas director Francisco Aragón.

"These two days offer an opportunity for our students, our campus, and our local and global communities, to experience the artistry of some of our finest poets,” he said.

On Thursday of that week, “Latinx Identidades”, a faculty and student panel moderated by Latinx Student Alliance's Nicholas Crookston, in collaboration with ILS, seeks to deepen understanding among our community of the many complexities of Latino heritage.

The final week of programming starts on Monday, October 3rd, with a talk on social movements and U.S. churches. "Poder Popular and the Challenge to U.S. Churches" will feature Movimiento Cosecha field organizers Dara Márquez Venegas and Carlos Castañeda, as well as Dr. Janna Hunter-Bowman, a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Latino Studies and Associate Professor of Peace Studies and Christian Social Ethics at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

The following day will see Marisel Moreno, Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, as well as an ILS Faculty Fellow, present her new book on literary and artistic depictions of extra-legal migration in the Caribbean. 

Crossing Waters: Undocumented Migration in Hispanophone Caribbean and Latinx Literature & Art is part of the "Latinx: The Future is Now" series from the University of Texas Press; the Tuesday Oct 4th conversation with be moderated by Assistant Professor of English Francisco Robles.

"Hispanic Heritage Month is a perfect time to remember all of the accomplishments and progress that Latinas/o/x families have made." 

The final event for Hispanic Heritage Month will be an ILS student outing to see a theatrical rendition of West Side Story at the Morris Performing Arts Center in downtown South Bend. A limited number of free tickets are available for this Sunday, October 9th excursion.