“It’s important because we’re more open now to be learning about our history within this month,” said Karla Gonzalez-Mariscal, a Berkeley High School junior. “We make it more known by also celebrating it all year long which will make the Latinx community feel more confident in the future.”
During Latinx Heritage Month, BHS’s Latinos Unidos club is planning to host an assembly in October. According to the club’s leader, senior Ivan Cuatatl-Tello, the assembly will feature different presentations from music, poems, dance, art and more.
“I hope to see more of a spotlight on Latinx culture, not just Mexican culture,” Cuatatl-Tello said. “Also highlighting other cultures, being inclusive and empowering students who are coming from Latino backgrounds but don’t have their voices heard at school.”
Erandi Gonzalez, a junior, echoed these sentiments, saying that her desire is to see a community that gets together and educates students on Latinx Heritage Month and the importance of Latinx people and their contributions.
“I hope that there’s going to be some sort of community and cultural pride coming back from the pandemic because we didn’t get to do a full assembly last year,” added Amanda Moreno, a BHS English teacher. “I’m hoping that the district and school will acknowledge Latinx students and staff. I hope it will raise awareness about the current issues that are happening in the Latinx community with immigration and I really hope that this month helps us shed light on how we’re helping the Latinx community around the globe.”
Gonzalez-Mariscal also added that she wants to see posters around campus and have teachers speak about important people who helped Latinx voices be heard. She also wants the community to have a greater understanding of Latinx culture.
“I think that having Latinx heritage month events is important because you get to learn more about Latinx culture and what we do,” Gonzalez added.
Moreno agreed, saying that the importance of the Latinx Heritage Month events were to let people know that the Latinx community is on campus and has a lot to offer. She wants the community to be seen and to feel celebrated.
“I would say that all of the events focused on Latinx culture helped build some pride for Latinx students,” Cuatatl-Tello said. “Maybe we can start pushing for more education on these cultures. We have these ethnic studies classes, but Latinx (people) aren’t as represented.”
Gonzalez voiced similar opinions. She believes that celebrations of cultural heritage allow the Latinx community to feel more represented. This allows both non-Latinx and Latinx students to know more about Latinx heritage.
“At least for general BHS students, we get to celebrate other peoples’ culture and make other people aware of different cultures,” Cuatatl-Tello said.
Berkeley Unified School District’s plans to host their celebration on October 15 at Longfellow Middle School to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month.
According to the school district’s website, this October celebration will allow members of the community to mix and mingle, while also enjoying delicious food and performances from several different cultures.
The Berkeley community observes this month in order to acknowledge the importance of the Latinx community throughout generations, helping to inspire and provide contributions to our nation, our community, and schools.
“There is important work ahead of us in improving academic outcomes for our Latine/x students,” BUSD Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel stated. “By building and strengthening our Latine/x community and growing our base of community allies, celebrations like ¡Nuestra Gente! play a role in helping us achieve this academic mission. As Latine/x Heritage Month draws to a close on October 15, this event will provide an opportunity to continue to uplift, affirm and celebrate our BUSD Latine/x Community–both on October 15 and throughout the year.”