YSU still celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, just on a smaller scale due to pandemic

Hispanic Heritage Month

COVID-19 hasn't stopped the Hispanic Heritage Committee from getting creative

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University normally spends Hispanic Heritage Month celebrating with events and keynote speakers. But, like a lot of other events, things look a little different this year because of COVID-19.

When it comes to Hispanic Heritage Month at YSU, normally, there are large events surrounded by people of all cultures, with food, music and dancing that represent the different countries in Latin America.

But because of COVID-19, the celebrations are a lot smaller this year.

“The pandemic has brought a new way for us to plan things for everyone, locally and around the world, obviously,” said Ana Torres, with the Hispanic Heritage Committee.

But it hasn’t stopped the Hispanic Heritage Committee from getting creative.

“Obviously, we had to change the mood to more virtual type of events,” she said.

“We were trying to find things that we can still do that will remind people that it’s Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Alicia Prieto Langarcia, with the Hispanic Heritage Committee.

The main keynote speaker this year was Dr. Michael Benitez, who held two virtual events talking about what the Hispanic identity means today.

“We are a culture that is very rich and diverse in our heritage. We mostly share one language, but we have many other dialects, and to learn about the legacy that we share in the United States, including our contributions to this great nation and our beautiful Valley,” Torres said.

Torres said she has seen the Hispanic community at YSU grow significantly. In 2000, there were 190 students who identified as Hispanic. Now in 2020, there are more than 500.

“It’s especially gratifying to see all students from all backgrounds join in and learn about it and want to participate,” Torres said.

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