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Group aims to unify varied Hispanic cultures

Oct. 4, 2000

October events to celebrate heritage



October is Baylor's Hispanic Heritage Month -- a time to learn about Hispanic culture and to promote student understanding of what it means to be Hispanic.

'We want to make other people aware that we have a Hispanic population here,' said Diana Castillon, co-chair of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee.

The term 'Hispanic' is not a racial designation.

Not everyone classified as Hispanic speaks Spanish. Some Hispanics grew up speaking English in the United States but have parents or grandparents from a Spanish-speaking country.

Other terms, such as 'Latino' and 'Chicano,' also refer to Spanish-speaking people. Controversy often results when the terms Hispanic and Latino are interchanged. Latinos are from South and Central America. The term, therefore, excludes Spaniards.

Confusion also results from generalizing all people of Central and South American origin as Hispanic. Brazilians are not Spanish-speaking people, and they are not Hispanic.

Despite the confusion of identifying which ethnic groups are Hispanic, Hispanic Heritage month is focused on unifying the various groups.

'Cultural awareness is our whole philosophy,' said Claudia Valadez, co-chair of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee.

The motto for the month is 'United We Can Attain a Better Future,' Valadez said.

The Hispanic Student Association sponsors Hispanic Heritage Month.

All activities are open to everyone, Castillon said.

Tickets for the Oct. 12 Hispanic Heritage Banquet are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today -- Cultural Awareness Day -- through Friday on the first floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Tickets are $12 for non-members of the Hispanic Student Association.