Kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month


Students dancing at the Mexican Independence Celebration at Chico State. Photo by Samanta Sanchez, taken on Sept. 15

The Cross-Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC) at Chico State initiated Hispanic Heritage Month’s kickoff on Sept. 15. The Chicano/Latino Council hosted La Bienvenido with the support of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

La Bienvenida, a welcoming reception event for new Latinx students, faculty and staff was designed to bring the Latinx community together. All students were welcome to attend. Later that day, there was the Mexican Independence celebration at the Student Services Center plaza. 

Natalie Hernandez, a cultural program coordinator at the CCLC said that approximately 300 students attended the event. 

It was the first time ever that Chico State had a ‘banda,’ perform. Banda is a style of Regional Mexican music that features brass instruments and a heavy beat. The band that played at the event was Raizes Jaliscienses. They performed classics such as “El Sinaloense” and “La Chona.” 

The Mexican Independence event provided students with traditional Mexican candy, food and different flavored agua frescas. Students took advantage of the music that was being played and danced along. 

Ka Her, an undergraduate student at Chico State, said that she came to the Mexican Independence event to appreciate the different culture and diversity of students. 

Ka Her, an undergraduate student at Chico State
Ka Her, an undergraduate student at Chico State. Photo by Samanta Sanchez, taken Sept. 15.

One of the CCLC’s main priorities is to make Chico State a more welcoming environment for students. 

Marvin Herrera, a cultural program coordinator at the CCLC, said that La Bienvenida and the Mexican Independence celebration were meant to create a space for students to serve as home away from home. 

Marvin Herrera and Anna Marquez, Cultural Coordinators
Marvin Herrera (left) and Anna Marquez (right). Cultural Coordinators at Chico State. Photo by Samanta Sanchez, taken Sept. 15.

“We bring equity, diversity and inclusivity. We try to ease students from diverse backgrounds coming into Chico and facing culture shock,” Hernandez said. 

The CCLC started the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations off strong and they are still continuing to host events such as the Latinx Round Table Talk and the Latinx Unity Brunch for Hispanic Heritage Month. There is also the Latinx Movie Monday Series, hosted every Monday from Sept. 19 to Oct. 10 by the CCLC.

Although the CCLC has hosted many events in support for Hispanic Heritage Month, it is not the only entity at Chico State that is involved in events, with other groups hosting events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month as well. The Men of Chico and Women of Excellence programs will host the Latinx Roundtable Talk on Sept. 27 and the Chicano/Latino Council will be hosting a Chico Calaveras Cycle on Oct. 14. 

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year. The month serves as a time to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultures, contributions and extensive histories of the American Latinx community whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. 

Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week,” beginning in 1968 following a proclamation by President Lyndon Johnson. Hispanic Heritage Week would later be extended to a whole month in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan.

Sept. 15 is historically significant because it celebrates the independence days of several Latin American countries, including: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico gained its independence on Sept. 16, 1821 and Chile on Sept. 18, 1826.

Chico State is a hispanic serving institution with 36% of its students population identifying as Latinx. Chico State is a proud national member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) that is committed to Hispanic higher education and success.

Samanta Sanchez can be reached at [email protected].