Oct. 15, Hispanics of Today (HOT) hosted “La Celebración” in Cleveland Plaza to celebrate the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration was held to celebrate different Hispanic cultures and to show pride in Hispanic history, and get the Pittsburg community to participate. There were a variety of foods from different Hispanic cultures, a DJ, and HOT held a fundraiser to help refugees and migrants at the border.
“(We did this to) kick off Hispanic heritage month and to empower the community, in and outside of campus. (To show) there is support, (and) that the campus is diverse, especially around this month,” said Carlos Palestino senior and president of HOT. “There is some type of empowerment for the students and (this was) something to remind people that there is always a way forward.”
Some of the recipes used at the event came from places such as Central and South America.
“The event included a variety of cultures, not all of us are Mexican, even though that is the term most people use,” Palestino said. “We’re actually Hispanic, which means Spanish speaking person that lives or has heritage from Latin America.”
The fundraising event was run by senior and social work major, Ivon Rueda for one of her classes. At the event, Rueda sold a variety of food to make money for the organization. Rueda was able to raise $700 at the event and she will also be having other food drives throughout the months of October and November.
“My fundraiser will be benefiting an organization named Casa Del Migrante in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico,” Rueda said. “This organization focuses on helping migrants, refugees, and displaced people on the border. They provide shelter, food, clothing, and free legal assistance to this vulnerable population. Besides collecting money for them, I will also be collecting certain items that they are in need like children’s face masks, disinfecting sprays, baby powder, and Kleenex.”
History and pride from South America are important factors for the HOT.
“Hispanic Heritage Month starts around this time of the month because central American countries declared their independence starting from the 15th to the 17th,” Palestino said. “That was the week that the central American countries declared their independence from the Spaniards or the French. Hispanic Heritage Month represents where you came from and a way to feel proud about your heritage.”
The event also included remarks from Palestino, where he talked about current statistics of the Hispanic and Latinx community making changes about the country.
“To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means celebrating our culture and recognizing all the positive contributions we as Latinos make to the United States,” Rueda said. “It means recognizing the influence of Latinx society and culture. I would not be the ambitious woman I am today if it weren’t for seeing the struggles my parents have faced on a day-to-day basis just for simply being undocumented.”
Students interested in joining HOT may go to Gorilla Engage for more information.