- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
By Ja'Mahl McDaniel
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2023) — For more than 30 years, the United States has recognized Sept. 15 as the start of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month.
Enacted into law in 1988 by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, allows the country to come together to celebrate the long and diverse history of Latin American identity, cultures, languages and vast contributions.
At the University of Kentucky, we have seen a significant increase in the number of Latinx and Hispanic-identifying students, faculty and staff. On campus, we have departments, clubs and organizations that foster opportunities for community building, educational awareness and representation. This year, campus and community partners will host a variety of events to celebrate and amplify the richness of Latinx/Hispanic heritage and culture. Events are open to the entire campus community, and all are welcome.
Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor and celebrate this community at UK. Additionally, it will allow attendees to take the time to better understand the complexities and intersectionality of Latinx culture on campus and beyond.
Below is the schedule of events:
Friday, Sept. 15:
Cafecito con Los Wildcats: Latinx Heritage Month Kickoff | 3-5 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Center Multipurpose Space | Hosted by MLK Center
The discussion will focus on what it means to be Latinx at UK, how to build community and ways to be inclusive for Latinx-identifying students, staff, faculty and allies.
Tuesday, Sept. 26:
Hailing Chavez: Documentary Screening | 6 p.m. in the Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema | Hosted by the Latino Student Union and MLK Center
Thursday, Sept. 28:
Hailing Chavez: Documentary Screening | 5:30-7 p.m. in the Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema | Hosted by the Latino Student Union and MLK Center
Friday, Sept. 29:
La Carne Asada: Latinx Heritage Month Celebration | noon-3 p.m. on the Main Lawn | Hosted by MLK Center
Thursday, Oct. 5:
Cafecito con Chavez: An Evening with Eduardo Chavez | 6-7:30 p.m. in the Harris Ballroom | Hosted by MLK Center; the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; the Lewis Honors College; the College of Arts and Sciences; and the Department of Hispanic Studies
A descendant of two influential revolutionary lineages: the iconic civil rights champion César Chávez and the Cuban revolutionary figure Max Lesnik. Chavez brings a rich tapestry of heritage and activism to his endeavors. His remarkable feature documentary, "Hailing Cesar," released in April 2018, masterfully intertwines his political and activist background into a compelling narrative.
Beyond his roles as a filmmaker and speaker,Chavez is a co-founder of Latindia Studios and holds a pivotal position on the Speakers’ Board for the Chávez Institute for Law and Social Justice. He also hosts the enlightening podcast "We Are Latinx," where he engages fellow Latinx individuals in thought-provoking discussions about their cultural influence on their professional journeys.
During this event, Chávez will share his own legacy and his tireless efforts to advance education on the Latinx experience. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with Chávez directly and ask questions about his inspiring work.
Friday, Oct. 15:
LACLS Symposium 2023: Latino Futures in Kentucky: Building Bridges of Collaboration | 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the William T. Young Library Auditorium | Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences
The panelists will discuss opportunities and challenges facing the Latino community in Kentucky, particularly in the areas of education and health. They will also discuss strategies and initiatives that could be implemented to build bridges of collaboration between organizations, institutions, and individuals that share the common purpose of recognizing and advancing the Latino heritage in the Commonwealth. Click here for more details.
More on the history of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month:
The ‘x’ in Latinx, symbolizes and reclaims both Latin Americans across the gender spectrum, but also honors some of the various indigenous peoples in the Americas, pre- and post-colonialism. Additionally, the x serves as an indicator of genderfluidity, something challenged due to the gendered nature of the Spanish language.
For more information on Latinx/Hispanic identities and history, visit the Smithsonian online exhibit: "¡Presente!" | National Museum of the American Latino (si.edu).
For questions, concerns or accommodation requests, please contact the Martin Luther King Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-257-4130.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.