To the Editor,
For those of you who didn’t know, last weekend was Latin Arts Weekend on campus. And throughout the United States, many people celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. To acknowledge these celebrations, Alianza Latina, the Latinx cultural club on campus, spends many months preparing the Weekend’s events, which include a number of speeches from distinguished speakers, a themed dinner in Paresky Commons, and the annual Latin Arts Dance.
So when I saw the Weekender last Thursday, I was a little confused. Alianza Latina had been in contact with the Student Activities Office early in the week to confirm our events and ensure that they would be properly advertised. What I saw on the Weekender did not emphasize the importance of our weekend. And after talking to other people of color on campus, I know I am not alone in frustration.
The subject of the email was simply “October Weekend(er).” Nowhere were the words “Latino,” “Latinx,” “Latin Arts,” “Latin Arts Weekend,” or “Alianza Latina” displayed – and on the one week Andover devotes to Hispanic heritage. The fact that it was the first day of October seemed to take precedence over the Latinx identity. Moreover, our events were the smallest sections of The Weekender.
By also renaming what was once the “Latin Arts Regional Dance” to the “All-School Dance,” the administration failed Latinx students. To me, this whitewashing was an attempt to appeal to the public majority, which in our case is white students on campus. In a way, the new name worked – the first dance drew a large crowd. But the “Latin Arts Dance” was a core part of our weekend celebrations. And the music played at the “All-School Dance” only featured a few hiphop and Latinx songs, despite Alianza Latina’s requests.
Time and time again, I hear the frustrations and disappointment of the students of color on campus when we are not recognized. We ask for one weekend out of the year to celebrate our existence, our complex identities, and our culture. Yet Andover has failed us again this past weekend.
It is incredibly difficult as a Latinx person to represent a culture or heritage when the administration does not fully support you. It is one matter for the school to say it supports and celebrates our identities, but it’s another matter to see how that help is manifested in the public eye.
I urge administrators to be more aware of how the decisions they make – like choosing the subject of the Weekender email – can have profound impacts on different people in our intentionally-diverse community. Our community must critically reexamine how to truly support minority culture clubs like Alianza Latina.
Cindy Espinosa ’18
Trevor Lazar ’17
Nicole Rodriguez ’17
Bailey Colon ’18
Claudia Meng ’18
Emily Ndiokho ’18
Justice Robinson ’18
Emily Sanchez ’18
Liz Seero ’18
Teagan Thompson ’18
Adrienne Zhang ’18
Keely Aouga ’19
Nicholas Miklaucic ’19
Jungwoo Park ’19
Ava Stills ’19
Editor’s Note: Emily Ndiokho and Adrienne Zhang are Associate Commentary Editors for The Phillipian.