Western Carolina University

WESTERN CAROLINA TO CO-SPONSOR                                                                                                       

The third annual Western North Carolina Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration co-sponsored by Western Carolina University is scheduled for Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, with a variety of activities focused on the theme “A Time to Honor Contributions and Achievements.”

The month of free programs will begin Friday, Sept. 15, with an opening celebration at 7 p.m. in the Grandroom of the A.K. Hinds University Center on the Western campus. Alex Lluch, director of Hispanic/Latino affairs for the N.C. Office of the Governor, will deliver the keynote address.

The kick-off activity will celebrate Mexican Independence Day with traditional Hispanic food, music, dance and theater. The opening celebration is co-sponsored by Western's Office of the Provost and Division of Student Affairs.

Other activities will be held throughout the monthlong celebration at various sites in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. Topics will include the history of immigration, Latino politics and education, Mexican popular culture, Spanish theater and Latin American artifacts. Two other highlighted events will be open forums on immigration policies and Latino education where people can feel safe to express their opinions. 

Western student Anne Powell will make a presentation about her research on federal and state policies affecting Mexican immigrants at Western from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20. 

“It is a program that encourages community members and students to try something different, such as music or food, and see something from a different point of view,” said Patricia Hackett, organizer of the event and visiting assistant professor of Spanish at Western.

“Not everyone can or wants to go abroad, and this is one of the closest things we have for students to encounter our culture and practice the language,” said Hackett, a native of Panama. “It is also a chance to gain recognition for the increasing Hispanic population in the area, promote an understanding and appreciation of the Hispanic culture, and to cultivate positive attitudes toward cultural diversity.”

The first bilingual health fair, “Cuida tu Salud – Take Care of Your Health,” will be at Sylva's Wal-Mart parking lot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7. “Our third-year Spanish students will actively take part in the bilingual health fair as interpreters. We want the students to learn and use information that will be for the good of others and for themselves,” said Hackett.

Organizers are still putting the finishing touches on the month's schedule of activities and are seeking volunteers from the community to assist in planning and implementing events. 

“We are grateful to Western for its support of Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Hackett. “I think it's great that we, as an institution, are acting as an educational avenue for the community.”

Other sponsors of Hispanic Heritage Month activities include Jackson County Bridges to Community Multicultural Group, Jackson County Arts Council, Solaridad Latino Outreach of Franklin, The Community Table of Sylva, Lake Junaluska Latino Center, Guadalupe Café, Smoky Mountain Vicariate Roman Catholic Church, N.C. Bankers Association, Jackson County Department of Public Health, Wal-Mart, and Western's Women Studies and Women's Center.

For more information, call Patricia Hackett at (828) 227-3761.

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Last modified: Monday, September 11, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University