Celebrate Hispanic Culture, History at Hispanic Heritage Month Events Through Oct. 19

Las Muralistas – Hispanic Heritage Month 2019

The Hispanic Heritage Committee at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi invited three Islander alumna – Mayra Zamora, Sandra Gonzalez, and Monica Marie Garcia – to design a mural inspired by their experiences on campus. The mural was then painted by the community and the final version of the mural will be revealed at a reception on Friday, Sept. 27, from 5-7 p.m. in the University Center, Legacy Room. The reception is open to the campus community and is hosted by the College of Liberal Arts.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – From a presentation on the civil rights work of Dr. Hector P. Garcia to the Islander Cultural Alliance’s Lotería Night to the annual Poetry Reading in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Hispanic Heritage Month at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has to date been an especially vibrant celebration of the impact that Hispanic culture has had on U.S. history.

The national celebration, which runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, was launched in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week by President Lyndon Johnson before it was expanded and enacted into law in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, according to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website.

Organized by the Hispanic Heritage Committee, the celebration at the Island University continues in October with a rich line-up of events, including two Wikipedia-based activities as well as several music performances and a Latin American Film Series screening. Hispanic Heritage Month officially concludes with a concert performance by the East Los Angeles ensemble Las Cafeteras at the Performing Arts Center on Oct. 19 as part of the Furgason Bravo! Series.  

Hispanic Heritage Month at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi began with a Kickoff celebration on Sept. 12. Students, faculty and staff gathered in the University Center Anchor Ballrooms to enjoy food, hear celebratory remarks, and even show off a few dance moves.

At the “Creating a Legacy: The Life of Dr. Hector P. Garcia” presentation on Sept. 18, University of New Mexico Associate Professor Michelle Hall Kells read excerpts from her book “Vicente Ximenes, LBJ’s ‘Great Society,’ and Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric.” Dr. Kells focused on Garcia’s organizing work in expanding the American GI Forum to New Mexico with the help of Ximenes, a civil rights leader in New Mexico, in the ’50s.

“While practicing medicine, Dr. Garcia wrote prescriptions for democracy,” said Kells of Garcia’s civil rights work on behalf of the Mexican American community.

The Island University held its first Las Muralistas Community Painting Event on Sept. 20. The Hispanic Heritage Committee invited three Islander alumnae – Mayra Zamora, Sandra Gonzalez, and Monica Marie Garcia – to design a mural inspired by their experiences on campus. The mural was then painted by the community and the final version of the mural was revealed at a reception on Sept. 27 in the University Center, Legacy Room.  

“It is important to teach the younger generations about the traditions so we can fully embrace our heritage,” said Gonzalez.

“The mural is very Latinx-based. It’s going inspire this next generation coming up to see a familiar face that looks like them on screen or canvas,” said Zamora.

A sizable audience turned up for the signature Hispanic Heritage Month event “Pioneers in Film Making: Fuentes Film Panel” on Sept. 26 in Bell Library. The screening featured rare film clips of the Mexican American community by early 20th century film makers Antonio Rodriguez Fuentes and Josefina Barrera Fuentes; the films were named to the National Film Registry in 2017.

Hispanic Heritage Month Coordinator Andrea Montalvo-Hamid, Professional Assistant Professor of English, provided illuminating context about the film clips and shared her family’s long history in the Coastal Bend.

“Building a community is both a legacy and responsibility. The Fuentes family did not just leave behind these films. Their legacy helped others succeed,” Montalvo-Hamid said. “My parents felt comfortable enough to move to Corpus Christi because of the community that had been set up. We as a community have a duty here to the people that come after us.”

Coming up is the second annual Mariachi & Folklórico Showcase at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Performing Arts Center. The event, which attracted a large audience last year, is free and open to the public.

For a list of remaining Hispanic Heritage Month events, visit http://hispanicheritagemonth.tamucc.edu.