LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the culture, history, and achievements of Hispanic Americans in our country. Celebrations started Friday at the University of Kentucky, and over the next month, the school is hosting several events to honor its Hispanic community.
For the last decade, the number of Hispanic students at UK has significantly increased. Ten years ago, there were less than 900 students. Now almost 1,900. However, the Hispanic community still only makes up a small percentage of the entire student body.
Ja’Mahl McDaniel, Director of the UK Martin Luther King Center, along with several other campus groups, organized six events throughout the month-long celebration ending on Oct. 15.
McDaniel said every background deserves a space to embrace their culture, and seeing Hispanic representation encourages other people to learn about the community.
The school started the month with conversations about the Hispanic student experience at UK. McDaniel says more people showed up than expected, and he hopes for even larger crowds as the celebration continues.
Most of the remaining events are new, but organizers made sure to bring back La Carne Asada, a food festival happening Sept. 29 on the Main Lawn from noon to 3 p.m. It was moved to a larger spot because they expect to feed more people than last year.
Organizers also planned two opportunities to see the documentary “Hailing Cesar.” The film will play at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema, and 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the same location.
“Hailing Cesar” highlights human rights activist, Cesar Chavez, who in the 1970s fought for the rights of farmworkers in the United States. The documentary honors his legacy as well as respects his struggles. The story is told by his grandson, Eduardo Chavez, who says everyone can relate to the film that’s been shared with more than 10,000 students at schools across the nation.
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Eduardo Chavez is also visiting UK’s Harris Ballroom on Oct. 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to talk about the film and his podcast, “We Are Latinx,” where he tries to engage fellow Latinx individuals in thought-provoking discussions about their cultural influence on their collegiate and professional journeys.
The month-long celebration ends in the William T. Young Library Auditorium on Oct.13 with panelists discussing the futures of Hispanics in Kentucky and ways to build bridges of collaboration. It’s scheduled from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
All remaining events are open to the entire campus. Neighboring communities are welcome as well.