Latinx community members share what their identity means to them

Connor Woken
Staff Writer

The University’s Latinx Heritage Month virtual series kicked off Wednesday via WebEx with a panel promoting diversity and inclusion through storytelling.

The small event included six faculty and student panelists and eight community participants.

Panelists were Alma Martinez, associate professor of theater; Christian Bracho, faculty diversity liaison; Cindy Vallejo, office of student engagement and leadership associate director; Yulissa Chavez, junior communications major; Antoinette Lorenzo, senior business major; and Francisco Villagomez-Luna, senior political science major.

Daniel Loera, the University’s director of multicultural affairs, moderated the event, which began with three questions for the panelists.

“In what ways has your Latinx culture impacted your experience and community at large?” Loera began.

The panelists also considered how they have been impacted or how they are trying to impact the broader community, including people of color and LGBTQ communities.

The meeting, intended to inspire participants to make a difference, via emphasizing the University’s core values and exploring various components of diversity. 

Ways in which this was accomplished was presented from the panelists by combining different clubs or organizations that could help make a difference in their specific community.

The University’s core value of diversity and inclusivity was a highlight of the panel discussion.

 A lot of these panelists were either current first generation college students or they consisted of members that currently work at ULV.

“We cannot rise as a community unless we all rise together,” Martinez said. 

After hearing Martinez share what she had to say about the community that she works in, it had brought light to many eyes of the people with their cameras on. Martinez had shared stories outside of the Latinx community, but had brought up ideas of what was more important between being a person of color or being a woman. 

She told the story of when she met Barack Obama and voted in the election with Hillary Clinton. From these experiences, she had asked herself what means more, being a person of color or being a woman.

“I think it is more important to be a person of color,” Martinez said.

Vallejo talked about growing up in Huntington Park and how she never had the chance to fully embrace her Latinx heritage.

“It wasn’t until I got out of high school that I was able to embrace my Latinx culture at ULV,” Vallejo said.

Vallejo said felt she was able to connect more to the Latinx community and the diversity present mainly through clubs.

“ULV had a more diversified background and after noticing that, I was able to grow and become more involved in the Latino community,” Chavez said.

Chavez had mentioned that she had to choose a college and had the final decision to choose ULV. She had said she chose it because it’s where she noticed she could really be herself. Now she is a big part of the Latinx community at the school. 

The Latinx Heritage Month virtual series will continue weekly at 1 p.m. and will run through Nov. 4. 

Connor Woken can be reached at connor.woken@laverne.edu.

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