ABAC celebrated Hispanic Heritage the week of Sept. 16. The celebration started off strong with many fun events planned to get the students here involved. Lambda Sigma Upsilon hosted the Piñata Bash on Monday to kick things off. Wednesday, Sept. 18, the Cultural Latina Club hosted dancing lessons.
On Thursday morning at 9:30, students, faculty and staff all convened at Howard Auditorium to view the screening of John J. Valadez’s “Latino Americans: Pride and Prejudice (1965-1980).” After the screening, everyone was invited to meet up in the meadows where light refreshments and snacks were served. During this time, guest speaker Santiago Marquez also made an appearance.
Following the celebration, there was a symposium held in Howard Auditorium. Santiago Marquez appears yet again to moderate the open discussion about the contributions to society made by Latin Americans.
There were four guest speakers at the forum. Each speaker was given ten minutes to give a presentation of his own. After the presentations, two questions were taken from members of the audience.
Dr. Ricardo Camara Sanchez has a Ph.D in law from the national Autonomous University in Mexico. He has been a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1975 and the Mexican foreign Service since 1977. In April of 2012, he received the rank of Ambassador of the Mexican Foreign Service. He is currently post as Consul-General of Mexico. Sanchez focused most of his presentation on Mexican migrants living in Georgia and the roles they play in their communities.
Eduardo Diaz is the director of the Smithsonian Latino Center and an advisor to the Smithsonian’s secretary and undersecretary for history, art and culture. He is also an advisor to Congress on cultural issues pertaining to Latino Communities in the U.S. Diaz’s presentation began with a story about the role of the arts in society. He also explained the usefulness of the Hispanic community in economics and politics.
Dr. Carlos Rodriguez served as principal research scientist for the American Institutes for Research. He is recognized nationally as an expert on equity and educational attainment of minority populations across the education spectrum. His presentation was focused on Education. He offered statistics on education in the Latino community. According to Dr. Rodriguez, only 1% of Latinos have attained a degree beyond the masters. Rodriguez stresses that Hispanic students should take their educations seriously.
The last of the four speakers was Dr. Victor Aurelio Zuniga Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a professor at the University of Monterrey. He has expertise in migrations and is the head of Georgia Project which is an organization that addresses the dual issues of the city of Dalton’s growing population of Hispanic students with little to no English proficiency and the lack of resources needed to educate those students. His presentation was a collection of letters from various teachers describing the things that they have witnessed while teaching Spanish-speaking children. The common observation between many of the teachers was the fact that the younger generations don’t hold the same prejudices that the older generations do. Children don’t see color or race the way that the previous generations do. The prejudices are taught to them from their elders.