Raising Awareness About Hispanic Heritage Month

Pictured+from+right+to+left+are+Enrique+Igelsias%2C+Frida+Kahlo+and+Selena+Quintanilla.%C2%A0

Pictured from right to left are Enrique Igelsias, Frida Kahlo and Selena Quintanilla. 

Angie Diaz, Maroon-News Staff

Hispanic Heritage Month this year began on September 15 and will end on October 15. To spread awareness and celebrate this month dedicated to the immensely diverse and beautiful Hispanic and Latinx cultures, I have interviewed four Colgate students who identify as either Hispanic, Latinx or both. The questions I asked relate to the meaning of Hispanic Heritage Month as a whole as well as how the students’ personal style has been influenced by Hispanic or Latinx culture.  

Abel de León Sánchez, Class of 2018 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?  

For me it means a reconnection to your culture, whatever that is, and how you want to represent your culture and heritage outside of it. For example, I’m Mexican, so for me it means representing my Mexican culture here in the United States, especially here at Colgate. Hispanic Heritage month is that opportunity to make your culture visible more than any other time of the year. 

How would you describe your personal style? How has Hispanic or Latinx culture influenced your fashion sense? 

I don’t know exactly how I would describe my personal style, but I think I like to keep it casual to semi-casual. My Mexican heritage especially has inspired me to be more revealing, in a sense. For example, when I wear shorts I fold them to make them shorter or I unbutton my shirt really low where you can see my chest. This is something that is common in different Latin American countries.   

Do you have a Hispanic or Latinx style icon?

Honestly, I don’t really have a [style] icon. However, I do really like the dress of contemporary Mexican style like those dresses Frida Kahlo wore. I love the style of those really big dresses that are excessive and exaggerate the figure of the body.  I admire that a lot, but I don’t dress like that.

Kristy Saldaña, Class of  2018 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?  

For me, Hispanic Heritage Month has had a really big influence on my life, especially since coming to Colgate. I really didn’t celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month before coming here because it was always Hispanic Heritage Month where I’m from. It wasn’t until coming to Colgate, which is predominantly white, that I found myself in this predicament where I had to emphasize my Hispanic-ness. It is important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through different events and activities, so we raise awareness for the Latinx community on campus since there is such a small population of us and sometimes we don’t find ourselves represented in classes and things like that. For example, we have an event called “La Hora de Familia”, which is during Family Weekend and it caters to Hispanic families who don’t necessarily speak English. 

How would you describe your personal style? How has Hispanic or Latinx culture influenced your fashion sense?

Before coming to Colgate my mom would always have to have me and my sister dressed up. We would always have to wear jeans with a blouse when going out to places like the market. That aspect stayed with me until I came to Colgate and learned about going out wearing sweats, t-shirts and baggy clothes. However, I usually tend to dress up and do my hair when I go out and not wear baggy clothes unless I’m going to the gym.   

Do you have a Hispanic or Latinx style icon?

Not really. Usually people would want to hear a stereotypical answer like Jennifer Lopez [laughs] as my icon. I grew up watching telenovelas, so a lot of the Hispanic women that I saw growing up on those soap operas influenced my sense of style. Plus my mom dressed me up until I was way too old, so she picked out a lot of my clothes. So I guess my mom would be my Hispanic or Latinx style icon.

Aaron Grijalva, Class of 2021

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 

For me it means learning more about my heritage such as the important history and events that have occurred in Latin America. 

How would you describe your personal style? How has Hispanic or Latinx culture influenced your fashion sense? 

I just wear what I like and have I don’t try to dress like other people or impress them. Hispanic or Latinx culture hasn’t really influenced my individual fashion sense. However, my father, uncles and other male relatives tend to wear collared shirts with three buttons unbuttoned showing off their chests, pointed toe boots, belts and hats going for a type of vaquero look. 

Do you have a Hispanic or Latinx style icon?

I like a lot of the different Hispanic musicians and actors like Antonio Banderas, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin. I’ve noticed that a lot of these Hispanic male celebrities wear a collared opened dress shirt with three buttons down and slacks, which I think looks cool. I feel like this is a trend that is more common in Hispanic pop culture and media.  

Chelsea Santiago, Class of 2019

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

I definitely think that it means the celebration of different countries coming together by finding a common ground and bringing more awareness to campus. It’s a month where the Latinx community can continue to speak on behalf of the Latinx community. As well as showing that Colgate has this community here, it means building upon our relationship as a group and educating other Colgate students. I don’t think that it is limited just to this month and this is a conversation that needs to continue.

How would you describe your personal style? How has Hispanic or Latinx culture influenced your fashion sense?

I think my style is definitely sassy with flair because I am a sarcastic person. A lot of times my family would describe me as “chiquita pero picosa,” which means small but spicy or mighty. Being Latina has influenced the way I dress because I wear vibrant colors, hoop earrings, big hair with waves and I have the curves to help that out [laughs]. However, it has also influenced the way I present myself because it is something I am very proud of. I don’t like coming off as just an American because I am Mexican-American – that is my identity and how I want people to see me wherever I am.

Do you have a Hispanic or Latinx style icon?

I don’t want to be too cliche or general but I would say Selena Quintanilla. She actually struggled a lot and didn’t know Spanish before she started singing, so that is a bit different from me because I grew up knowing Spanish. Also, she struggled in knowing what it is to be born in the United States, but having these Latin American roots and the questions that arise with going back to your heritage/place origin and wondering how they see you. When you’re in the United States you see yourself as part of the community, but sometimes when you go back the community sees you as just an American which isn’t something you want because you’re not just an American. Plus her style was on point and she started some of the best trends like crop tops and bustiers and brought a different type of style to the mainstream culture as someone who was Mexican-American.

Contact Angie Diaz at [email protected]