CSUSB celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with workshops, seminars, year-round initiatives

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Photo by Michael Moody/CSUSB: Members of the CSUSB Acto Latino Theater Group celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in the Santos Manuel Student Union.
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In conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM), California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is enriching its students with interactive workshops, virtual forums, LatinX film screenings and initiatives throughout the year, with a focus on Latino college completion.

From September 15 to October 15 the University and the Nation will continue to recognize the contributions Hispanic and LatinX Americans have made to U.S. culture, history, achievements and more.

According to the University, this year’s theme is, “Embracing our gente, raices, and identities to define our future,” to celebrate the national month, which was enacted into law only in 1988.

Photo by Rodrigo Pena/CSUSB.: CSUSB is a Hispanic Serving Institution celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, along with its Latino Education & Advocacy Days (LEAD) organization. Pictured is a Mexican Independence Celebration at California State University, San Bernardino on Sunday, September 15, 2019.

“It’s unfortunate that we live in a society that tends to undervalue diversity; it’s the strength of this country. We need to recognize the history of racism in the U.S. and at the same time recognize the contributions and positive stories in the American Latino community,” said Enrique Murillo, CSUSB doctoral program director, college of education professor, and Latino Education & Advocacy Days executive director.

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Murillo went on to share that an imperative implementation that needs to take place is the addition of Hispanic heritage and history into U.S. curriculum.

“Oftentimes the curriculum is zero-centric and we’re made to feel invisible. Our contributions should be added to the curriculum that’s taught in school because we’re a part of the fabric of U.S. history; we have deep historical and cultural roots here,” continued Murillo.

An example Murillo gave in regard to being left out of U.S. curriculum is Mendez v. Westminster, a model desegregation class action case that was successfully amplified in 1947; but the Brown v. Board of Education class action case is the one heavily referenced in U.S. education.

Back on the university front, as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) since 1994 its focus now and in the future is on college completion for its Latino students.

“We’ve been making special efforts to serve our community. We’re really good at recruiting Latinos, but we’ve been asking ourselves, what are we doing to make sure they graduate? So our current focus is on college completion,” Murillo said.

Another topic Murillo touched on is that prominent Hispanics are not just celebrities, but educators like Pablo Freire and scientists like Guillermo González Camarena, who was a Mexican electrical engineer who invented a color wheel type of color television.

“We come from a very diverse and vibrant community, celebrating and recognizing NHHM is an opportunity to raise awareness and to recognize our contributions. We helped build this country just like every other ethnic group,” concluded Murillo.

Between now and October 15, HSI is coordinating 13 enriching events to celebrate NHHM. To learn more about CSUSB’s NHHM initiatives, visit https://bit.ly/3tSM4vc.

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