OCC celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off on Sept. 15 and Orange Coast College has plans to celebrate until it comes to a close on Oct. 15. The OCC Student Equity Program, CLEEO, Global Engagement Center and Multicultural Center are all coming together to co-host a series of events that honor Hispanic culture.

As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, events are being held in-person again, such as a Latin American dance performance and lesson on Thursday. Attendees were not only able to watch a Latin dance, but they had the opportunity to learn the choreography on the OCC campus quad.

Meanwhile, one of OCC’s own mathematics professors, Eduardo Arismendi-Pardi, led CLEEO 11.0 last Thursday. The CLEEO Project is an OCC organization that supports Latin students in their education by teaching life skills and encouraging their path to an associates or bachelors degree. This specific event was titled “Critical Consciousness & the Epistemology of Paulo Freire: Teaching & Learning Ethnomathematics, Democracy, Civil Rights, & Social Issues.” 

His speech focused on honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by reclaiming Latino concepts and inventions in mathematics. Many subjects are taught as a byproduct of Western European culture, where they were also conceptualized in the Americas.

“This does not mean that we are to shame Europeans, " Arismendi-Pardi said. "It just means that we need to tell our own story."  

Another CLEEO event taking place during National Hispanic Heritage Month will be the CLEEO Summit titled “Equity & Deeper Learning in Community Colleges with Pedro Noguera." Noguera is a UCLA professor and sociologist who focuses on the influence that socioeconomic conditions have on schools. To participate in the event on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. students are required to RSVP by email to Eric Cuellar.  

OCC also offers activities that are available anytime throughout the month, such as the OCC Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month Padlet. This Hispanic and Latinx community board allows students to connect with others by posting their answers to the prompt: What does being Hispanic and/or Latinx mean to you? 

The Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum is another free activity that explores Hispanic music, art and other digital content. The interactive web page is a great way to learn something new.

The Museum of Latin American Art, located in Long Beach, is exhibiting MoLAA I AM: Afro Latinx Narratives, an online display that features different artwork and artists. This website focuses on celebrating African heritage and its influence in Latin American countries.

Students also can listen to a podcast released by NPR’s Code Switch, titled “You Say Chicano, I Say…,” which delves into the past, present and future of the Chicano movement. “Who You Calling Hispanic,” is another Code Switch podcast released for Hispanic Heritage Month, which focuses on the term “Hispanic” and what it means to the Latin community.  

“Our Hispanic and Latinx students, as well as classified professionals, faculty and managers, are a vital part of what makes our College a rich and multicultural institution of higher learning,” OCC President Angelica Suarez said in a statement.

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