As this semester comes to an end, I wanted to reflect on Comunidad Latinx and the archaic journey our club has had. This was the first semester back from a global pandemic with a bustling and full campus life which meant a chance for the new e-board of Comunidad Latinx to find ways to grow our presence on campus and to find community members and allies who align themselves with our goals.
Our first mission was to have a full schedule for Hispanic Heritage Month and to promote the events we were going to be hosting alongside the Office of Multicultural Life. We put out a poster acknowledging the start of the month and had multiple events every week that was open to the campus to celebrate the beauty of Latine culture as well as honoring the contributions of Hispanic and Latine people to this country. We would like to take this chance to apologize for any harm that was perpetrated by any of our events or our promotional material. Our intent was never to inflict harm or to leave some Latines out of the conversations we were holding. We are grateful for those who spoke out and made us aware of the situation. We have spoken with OML and taken steps to prevent further harm in the future as best we can, which include carefully monitoring our language use and having a multi-step review process of communications and events.
We are always open to criticism and we encourage communication between club leaders and students of Muhlenberg. We would also like to invite anyone who feels they belong in Comunidad Latine/x to join us for our bi-weekly meetings if they would like to talk to club leadership or inquire about what the club is doing on campus. Our ultimate purpose is to build a safe space for Latine members of Muhlenberg to engage with their identity in a way that feels authentic and true, without always having to educate the broader community of their culture or having to hide aspects of themselves in order to fit in. Hispanic Heritage Month has ended, but our work and this institution’s work to prioritize Latine students and their needs have not. We would also like to announce that our new name is Comunidad, which translates to community in Spanish. Our club has decided that this name symbolizes a new era for our affinity group. We acknowledge that Latine students come from all different backgrounds, but we are also united by our ancestry and common origin, which we hope to use to come together and our new name is evidence of this. As this semester ends and finals begin, we will hold club meetings and plan for the spring semester. We are open to inquiries, suggestions, and constructive criticism, all of which we will use to build a stronger Latine community on campus. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A note from Robin Riley-Casey– An acknowledgment of harm: The Office of Multicultural Life (OML) apologizes for the language used in a recent flyer, created to celebrate Latin American Heritage Month. OML did not critically review the flyer for words that are offensive such as “undocumented” and can be exclusionary such as “immigrant,” both words were included in the flyer. We acknowledge the harm that members of our Latin American community experienced because of the above advertisement. We will take steps to ensure that all communication sent out, from the Office of Multicultural Life, is reviewed by multiple staff and students for inclusive content. We will work to eliminate language in all communication that is dismissive, demeaning and derogatory.