Culture, history and politics converge over the next month as Kenyon marks Hispanic Heritage Month.
Immigration-reform activist Marco Saavedra ’11 is the keynote speaker for the annual series of events that this year include a concert and documentary film featuring musician Joan Soriano and readings from the works of Spanish-speaking and Spanish-heritage writers.
Saavedra, with eight other self-described Dreamers, self-deported to Mexico in July and sought re-entry into the U.S. They were detained for several days before being released in order to appear before a judge to seek asylum. He will discuss immigration reform on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater.
Saavedra’s talk and all activities during the month, marked nationally from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, are intended to link “the past to the present to the future,” said Ivonne Garcia, associate professor of English and an events organizer. “This notion that Latinos are all immigrants to the United States has become commonplace, that they just came recently and they’re coming undocumented,” she said. “The national narrative of the United States tends to be the story of the Puritans and the Mayflower and recognizes the ethnic background of one, particular group of people.” That version of history, she said, ignores the deep legacy of Spanish settlement and multi-racial, cultural influence throughout the United States.
A national celebration of Hispanic heritage started in 1968 as a week-long event initiated during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for a number of Latin American countries.
Kenyon’s enrollment includes 100 students who self-identify as Hispanic.
Kenyon’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month also includes these free events: