GHC needs to do more to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Tami-Ann Treasure, Opinion and Editorials Editor

Hispanic Heritage Month is not very visible to people, and some students at GHC do not know that the college celebrates it. (Chris Daniel)

GHC recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October, but many students are not aware despite the celebrations in place to honor it.

Being celebrated in two months may cause students to be confused as to when it is celebrated, and therefore more needs to be done to promote celebrations.

“I did not see anything on the title website about Hispanic Heritage Month nor did I hear about anything through my peers,”  Diana Dias, a Latina/Brazilian student at GHC, said.

This makes one wonder if enough is being done to celebrate Hispanic heritage.  

Before writing this piece, I was not aware that Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated by GHC, and I am not alone in sharing these sentiments.

“GHC did not have much visibility for Hispanic Heritage Month. I did not see anything on the screens in the Student Center,”  Rudy Betancourt, a psychology major at GHC, said.

If the student body is not aware that celebrations are being held, then Hispanic/Latino students may feel slighted that their culture is not being acknowledged. Celebrating the heritage of another culture is a tricky thing to do because we must be careful not to appropriate that culture.

“We see this with both Hispanic Heritage and Native American Heritage Month; in that, both cultures have so many stereotypes associated with them that you’re almost better off doing nothing rather than risking offending the culture,” Clifton Puckett, Student Engagement Coordinator at GHC, said.

“Each year, Student Life and the Spanish Activities Club organize events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” Professor of Spanish at GHC, Kathryn Garcia, said. Such events include a puppet show at the Cartersville Public Library, and making traditionally themed crafts such as painting sugar skulls, cutting “papel picado” (perforated paper art) and making paper flowers.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Student Life organized a Zoom presentation with Rafael Ocasio to speak about his new book and “Encanto” was screened at the Cartersville and Rome campuses for Fall Frenzy, but how many students were aware of these events?  

To be more visible with celebrations for Hispanic Heritage Month, GHC should incorporate the student body in planning. There should be a platform for students to express how they would like to see their cultures’ celebrated. Suggestion boxes could be made for each campus for ideas to be presented by students. Hispanic food trucks can also be brought in for students to enjoy the cuisine and get exposure. 

For students to feel included and acknowledged, there needs to be more transparency in the promotion of events to honor student cultures. Hispanic Heritage Month should be celebrated loudly while ensuring that the culture is not appropriated.