Whether you have Latino heritage or just want to experience the culture, Elgin Community College aims to celebrate the history and legacy of Latinos in the United States during its Latino Heritage Month. The celebration began on Sept. 12 and runs through Oct. 26, bringing a diverse collection of speakers, activities and entertainers to the ECC campus. Daniel Quijano of the ECC Office of Student Life said the event means a lot to students of all backgrounds.
“Seeing that Latinos make up such a huge population of our very diverse student body and city, taking the time to celebrate the culture and all cultures throughout the year is very important,” Quijano said. “The main goal behind all our wonderful events is to give students and the community an opportunity to experience the culture through a number of mediums, including dynamic speakers, art, music, dance, poetry, comedy, food and much more.”
One of the most important aspects of Latino culture is the arts, and there are several events scheduled during the Latino Heritage Month that highlight the depth and significance of the arts. ECC students will have the opportunity to receive some hands-on instruction in art from the Museum of Mexican Art of Chicago from noon to 1 p.m. on Sept. 23, in the Building B Heritage Room.
Hip-hop performer and poet Michael Reyes will present his show “Latino Diaries” from 11 a.m. to noon on Sept. 26 in the Building G Spartan Auditorium, and the Chicago Afro-Puerto Rican Ensemble provides an interactive musical performance from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. the same day in the Building B Jobe Lounge.
Ballet Folklorico Huhuecoyotl performs traditional dance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, in the Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre. Tickets for this performance at $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $12 for children 10 and under and are available through elgin.edu/arts. The movie “The Milagro Beanfield War” will be screened in the ECC Library at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 2, and the band Projecto 7 performs in the Jobe Lounge from 1 to 2 p.m. on Oct. 3. The Spartan Auditorium is the place for ECC Got Talent, a live talent competition. Tickets for that event are $5.
The college’s own Drummers Joined in an Educational Movement through Beats and Entertainment performs live in the Jobe Lounge from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 7. The Jobe Lounge also hosts comedian Javi DeLeon from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 10, for a Latin Comedy Hour.
Singers Lizz Wright and Raul Midon perform a variety of jazz, R&B, soul and gospel hits at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, at the Blizzard Theatre. Tickets for that event are $34 and also are available through elgin.edu/arts.
Latino Heritage Month is coordinated by the school’s staff, faculty and the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS). To help support the event, the OLAS will hold a tamale fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 25, and an elote fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 9. Students will be able to purchase the traditional Mexican treats for $2 each.
Even though the event focuses on Latino culture, Quijano said the event enriches the entire ECC community, and should continue to do so for a long time. “We want to promote that while many things make us uniquely different, even more brings us together, and that message is consistent regardless of the event,” he said.