St. John’s Celebrates Latin Month

St. John’s University will celebrate Latin culture through food, entertainment, and dialogue during Latin Heritage Month from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31.

The Community Mass and Dinner on Oct. 2 will begin the series of events. The Mass, which will be celebrated in English and Spanish, will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel at 6:00 p.m., followed by the dinner at Marillac Terrace.

A panel discussion on “El Movimiento Latino: El Pasdo, Presente y Futuro” (The Latin Movement: Past, Present, and Future) will take place on Oct. 8 and will discuss the issues surrounding the Latin Movement into America.

Issues to be discussed include the role of Latina women, and issues on immigration.

A poetry and open mic night featuring Eduardo Mitre, a contemporary poet and professor in St. John College, will showcase the poetry of St. John’s students and their views of the Latin Movement on Oct. 15.

On Oct. 22., the members of the Latino Flavored Productions, and outside theatrical group that performs at various colleges, will perform a monologue, written by Linda Nieves Powell, entitled Yo Soy Latina (I am Latin).

The story is about six Hispanic women from various walks of life who are trying to figure out what it means to be a Latina.

A new event featured in this years upcoming events is “Latinos Look to the Future.”

A mentoring program sponsored by the Latin Heritage Month Committee and the Educational Talent Search Program, allows college students to volunteer to be a mentor of a Latino high school students in Brooklyn and Queens.

Xio Gonzalez, program counselor and for the Educational Talent Search Program, said the high school students learn what college life is all about by going to classes and participating in the mentor’s daily routine.

Other events include a H.E.O.P. Voter Regsitration Drive and free salsa lessons.

Latin Club Night on Oct. 25 will end all the festivities featuring Banda Soberia and D. J. Buddha and Bigg One.

OLAS president Jessica Figueroa is expecting 400 or more students to attend.

“We have so many new freshmen, so we expect a good turnout. The freshmen are looking for something to do as opposed to staying in their dorms,” Figueroa said.Jay Young, a senior and an OLAS member, is also optimistic about this year’s festivities.

“This year will be much better because it’s more organized, since the Hispanic organizations of St. John’s are doing everything together, rather than having one group work alone,” he said.

Preparations for a smooth and successful celebration of events has been underway since the summer.

“We’ve had various budget meetings, made various phone calls and requested money from Student Government,” Figueroa said.

Student Government has been able to provide money for the play and a meeting will take place this week to gain some funding for Latin Club Night she said. Participation is greatly encouraged because “the events are nothing without people there,” Young said.