TORCH PHOTO/ANDREINA RODRIGUEZ
On Friday, Sept. 29 the Latin Heritage Month Committee organized a Java Johnnies Latin style event at DAC from 5-7 p.m. accompanied by live music by the bachata band, Valerio.
To present the Latin culture to fellow St. John’s students, the event offered complimentary empanadas and maduros as well as free fruit juices.
To add even more fun, the event included a dance floor created to encourage students to get up and dance.
Valerio played a mixture set of bachata and merengue throughout the night. Songs included those such as the classic “Yo Me Muero Por Ti” by Antony Santos and the more recent songs like “Stand by Me” by Prince Royce.
Their performance envoked a sense of nostalgia for those who have grown up in a Latin family and experienced similar family parties.
Sieta Long, a junior member of LASO, has been familiar with the band for a while ever since they performed for LASO’s “Noche De Recuerdos” closing dinner on Apr. 6.
For her, the event was one to represent her culture.
“What’s good about the event is that, of course, I’m Dominican so merengue and bachata are my native country’s music so it’s always nice to come out and dance and support,” she said.
For those who were drawn to the event, they recognized this as an opportunity to express themselves within their culture around others in the community that St. John’s offers.
“I am very proud to be a Latina. To have a month dedicated to celebrating Hispanic culture is something I see to be truly wonderful, especially here at St. John’s. This school being one of the most diverse in the country allows for students to experience each culture.
I, as a student, am taking advantage of just that,” sophomore Nataly Lado, sophomore, said.
Similarly, sophomore Diana Paredes believed it brought enough awareness to her own Latin background to encourage her to become involved.
“I never felt that Spanish community, so to know that St. John’s has a Java Johnnies Latin event is really interesting to me and made me want to participate,” she said.
Before entering the DAC living room, a hallway of pictures of celebrities, such as Carmelo Anthony and Cardi B, were captioned with descriptions of their background and how they’d been shaped by their Latin upbringing.
For many, it came as a surprise to see those such as Kid Cudi to be half Mexican. “It shows people how diverse Latinos are in their own communities. Even I earned a few new things,” Rachel Fondeur, junior member of LASO, said.
As Hispanic Heritage Month continues, the committee continues to organize different events for all of St. John’s students to enjoy and experience.
As a goal, they hope to continue “spreading more knowledge and acceptance of Latinos and Hispanics,” Fondeur said.