Florida State University will host its inaugural Latinx Cultural Celebration, an opportunity to gather in honor of Latinx members, their contributions and history, on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
The goal of the Latinx Celebration is to bring the university and Tallahassee communities together to enhance cultural awareness, increase knowledge and share untold stories of the Latinx community. The event will feature Latinx culture, music and traditions, as well as a keynote speech from Juana Bordas, president of Mestiza Leadership International.
“The celebration is an invitation for everyone — those who identify as Latinx and those who don’t — to come together to learn and share in a culture that embraces the Latinx community,” said Miguel Hernandez, interim co-director of the Center for Leadership and Social Change and the coordinator of the program.
Bordas is also the founding president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, a founder of Denver’s Mi Casa Women’s Shelter and the Circle of Latina Leadership, and an adviser to Harvard’s Hispanic Journal on Public Policy and the Kellogg National Fellows Program. Her book “The Power of Latino Leadership” was recognized as the best business/leadership book by the International Latino Book Awards and received a Gold Award in the area of Multicultural/Indigenous Literature from Nautilus Book Awards.
The event will coincide with the United States’ observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. The month celebrates and remembers the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens and immigrants whose ancestors came from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.
The celebration will include the presentation of two awards. FSU’s Latinx Distinguished Service Award, which will be presented to a faculty or staff member, and the Rosalina Gonzales Award, which is named after the first Latinx student to graduate from the Florida State College for Women in 1921, will be presented to a student.
The event is sponsored by The Center for Leadership & Social Change in partnership with the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, the Division of Student Affairs and the Latinx Faculty/Staff Network.
The co-chairs of the Latinx Faculty/Staff Network, professors John Ribo and Lara Perez-Felkner, will serve as hosts for the program. The event also will feature performances by the Latin Soul Orchestra and Liliana Guerrero, a graduate student in the College of Music.
Since 2004, FSU’s Latinx population has increased from about 4 percent to 20.3 percent today.
“As we continue to explore diversity at the university, it’s important for us to take a moment and acknowledge the growth of our student body that mirrors the growth of our state’s population during this time period,” Hernandez said. “It gives us an opportunity to celebrate the various accomplishments of notable members of the community throughout our state, our country and history.”
About the Center for Leadership & Social Change
The mission of the Center for Leadership & Social Change is to transform lives through identity development, leadership education and community engagement. The center runs more than 30 programs for students, faculty and staff to develop skills to create positive, sustainable change in their communities.