A Great Start to HLHM
On September 15th not only does the world celebrate the beginning of Hispanic/Latin American History Month but so does UIS, doing so with their traditional Flag Raising Ceremony event which is a yearly tradition that has been occurring for quite a while now at UIS hosted by the Diversity Center as well as La Familia, which is the name for when all H/L related organizations get together on campus. Currently consisting of the Organization of Latin American students, Baile Monarcas, Gamma Phi Omega, Sigma Lambda Beta, and the H/L Initiative. This year this event took place on Friday September 15th from 6-8pm at legacy campus near the flag poles.
This event is always a very beautiful, meaningful, and empowering event not only to students and administration of Hispanic/Latino backgrounds but to all who attend! The ceremony begins with an opening statement from Justin Rose and Daniel Aguilar from the Diversity center with a purpose of welcoming all and speaking on the importance of the event and month overall. From that we see a number of other important UIS administration speak on the importance of this month, this includes people like the chancellor, the dean of students and a member from student government. We then move on to one of the most important aspects of the event which is the raising of the flags! This is where three flags are raised, the flags always being Mexico, the Black Liberation Flag and then the third flag is always switched yearly, this year the flag chosen was the Puerto Rican flag, these flags are always raised by uis students who are connected to the specific flag!
From then we see student leaders primarily members of La Familia take a big hold of the event, with each president or representative of the H/L student organizations taking on the significance of the month to their organizations and themselves in general, not only that but also see a couple of beautiful and entertaining performances from Baile Monarcas which is the Latin Dance group on campus! This year we saw a spectacular folklorico piece as well as an exciting merengue piece. These both being traditional Latino based dances with folklorico coming from Mexico though each Latin country has their own variation of a folkloric dance style, and merengue coming from the Dominican Republic! After these speakers and performances members of the audience are welcome to speak during the open mic portion of the event. This is a very powerful and welcoming part of the event because it lets H/L students and allies of the community speak their mind, recite poems, songs, or feelings on the coming month, what they look forward to and how they are affected by it. Lastly this event ends with community moment in which diversity center student staff gather up all attendees of the event and demonstrate the steps of the popular song “Caballo Dorado” and then allow an opportunity of all to dance it, ending the ceremony with a large crowd of people dancing and enjoying themselves!
Overall, this ceremony is a truly great and empowering event that I highly recommend all to attend if able in coming years no matter if you are of H/L background as it is a great opportunity to learn more of the beautiful culture. This event is a lovely ceremony that I hope continues for many, many years to come and only keeps getting larger and larger, to help the H/L community feel loved, valued, and a part of the community.