United Latino Society hosts first ‘Orgullo Latino’ showcase

by Sade Smith, News Editor

“Orgullo Latino”, or Latin Pride, is the first show hosted by The United Latino Society (ULS) in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Crowds of proud students filled the auditorium this Saturday October 1, and it was just the halfway point for festivity as the month runs from September 15-October 15.

Lisbeth Valdez, a Junior Political Science major and ULS President, said, “We’ve been trying to get the show for two years. Planning never worked out, money wasn’t there.”

Even with inevitable planning problems, the student organization didn’t let the idea go. “Last semester we couldn’t find a host and the one we have responded a year later.”

On campus, ULS hosts general interest meetings in the Frederick Douglass Unity House surrounding topics of race, identity and Latin Pride.

As a kick-off to Hispanic Heritage Month, they held a paint night for their members. The winner of the Paint Night painted a portrait of a Puerto-Rican Taina; a native based in Latin countries.

Valdez expressed that she would like to see the group enhancing the celebrations each year. Today, Moor Engaged Noble (M.E.N.) is partnering with the cultural group for a Black and Latino discussion. “We want to talk politics, health, basically being a United people. We need to put both groups together and come up with ways on how to do that.”

In terms of the show, ULS’s focus was on educating the campus community on the culture surrounding their heritage, including eradication of ignorance. “When people say I’m Spanish I get upset. I’m Dominican. I’m not Spanish, I’m not from Spain.”

The host and comedian Jay Ramirez, well known through his social media, would plug into what makes their culture unique and important. The organization booked him with the hopes of creating that atmosphere. “He’s always making fun of us. Not only Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, but the entire Latino community. It’s an experience that is worldwide. I think his jokes are relatable and he’s going to unite the crowd.”

During the show, performances such as a bachata dance by the ULS Dance Team, and a spoken word piece by an Amherst College student left the audience on their feet and in high appreciation.

Introduced by host Ramirez, activist, community organizer, independent journalist, and the highlight of the night Rosa Clemente takes the podium. The Black and Puerto Rican Vice Presidential running mate of 2008 Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. She reminds the audience to “look out for the police” tonight before diving into some of the most difficult topics around race. “I understood my flag, I understood going to the parade, but I didn’t know who I was…. when I began to know who I was, I began to be free.” She mentioned her Black and Puerto Rican studies courses, encouraging others to delve into discovering who they are.

Focusing on social injustices against people of color, she hoped that the words she spoke made students into freedom fighters. She even took the time to acknowledge the sisters and brothers and people of color not under the gender binary who have fallen under the forces of the government. “No matter how much they kill us; we are a resistant people. What is taught is our oppression but what is not taught is how we survive.”

Wearing large Puerto Rican flag earrings, she urged students to become and stay active in their communities, both in college and close to home.

Junior Mathematics student Natasha Fortes said, “She motivated me to start thinking about what the future holds and what we need to change not only in the country but in our lives.”

Receiving applause from the audience, she touched on the current presidential candidates, expressing the fear of being a Black figure in America. “Do we understand how we even fit into UMass Dartmouth, let alone this country?”

She ended with a strong message, emphasizing the work that needs to be done in communities and on college campuses, educating and never underestimating others on the pride of the people. “The highlight of the show was Rosa Clemente!” Fortes exclaimed.

Photo Courtesy: Sade Smith


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