National Hispanic Heritage Month

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September 13, 2023

SIU celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month with Eduardo Chavez and more

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, which runs from mid-September through mid-October, with a variety of special activities including guest speakers, music and dance, cultural events and festivals, tailgating, workshops and much more. All of the events are free and open to the public, except as noted.

“Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America” is the theme of the commemoration.

“This year’s celebration focuses on the history, culture and past generations that have driven the prosperity, power and progress of the Hispanic/Latino people in America,” said Renada Greer, executive director of the Student Multicultural Resource Center and Trio Support Services. “We have many special events planned, including a visit by the grandson of civil rights activist César Chávez.”

Kick-off event is Friday

The celebration begins with a Mangonada Social from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, on the pavilion of the Student Services Building. This cultural event features music, food, fun activities and a chance for participants to socialize.

The action moves to Bucky’s Haven on the SIU campus at 4 p.m. for the Central America Independence Day Celebration. The event will include a flag gathering ceremony, commemorating Sept. 15 as Central American Independence Day to mark the end of Spanish rule in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in 1821.

Civil rights activist Eduardo Chavez will speak

Eduardo_Chavez.jpgOne of the highlights of this year’s celebration will be a visit by Eduardo Chavez, the grandson of two legendary civil rights activists: César Chávez and Cuban revolutionary Max Lesnik. Eduardo Chavez will speak and present the documentary “Hailing César” at 5 p.m. Oct. 11 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library, sponsored by the Hispanic Student Council.

His political and activist background played a big role in his documentary, which chronicles his journey to understand his legacy and his grandfather. Chavez has spoken at universities throughout the United States and three other countries, is the co-founder of Latindia Studios, a member of the Speakers’ Board for the Chavez Institute for Law and Social Justice, and host of the “We Are Latinx” podcast.

Much more planned

An eclectic mix of activities will take place throughout the month, including an “Alumni Speaks” presentation featuring 2012 SIU graduate Kendra Torres at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 in Rooms 150/160 of the Student Services Building. 

Plans also include a Latin rhythms workshop Sept. 22, Hispanic/Latino Resource Center Family Weekend Tailgating on Sept. 30, a panel discussion about Latinada on Oct. 4, a Latin night Oct. 13 and assorted other happenings.

It all culminates with the “Fiesta de Cultura” celebration at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13 outside the Student Services Building. Sponsored by Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity Inc., the event will feature music by Los De La Lou, a snow cone truck and fun for all.

Learn more

Greer noted that many people have worked together to make the celebration possible with sponsors including the Student Multicultural Resource Center and its Hispanic Latino Resource Center along with SIU’s Hispanic/Latino student organizations.

Find the complete schedule of events and additional information at