On Monday, Oct. 28, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted the first-ever Latinx/Hispanic Student Panel.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&I) is one of the committees under Student Government and focuses on programming around the ideas of diversity and inclusion of all kinds.
Taking place in the Space from 7 - 9 p.m., the panel featured seven students: Daniel Viera (‘21), Jessica Luis (‘22), Fernando Cardoza Ochoa (‘22), Althessa Jones (‘21), Kassel Franco Garibay (‘20), Isabel Elliot (‘22) and Grace Castillo (‘20). The panelists answered a wide range of questions, moderated by D&I member Victoria Gramlich (‘22), such as “What is one thing someone might not know about your culture that you would want them to know?” and “Do you find the portrayal of Latinx/Hispanic individuals to match what the media reflects in the news, tv, music, etc?”
The event also delved into deeper questions, looking at the ways that the political climate is prejudiced against Latinx and Hispanic individuals and how that identity affects how people outside of the diaspora interact with those within it.
Virginia Leach (‘20), the chair of D&I for the past three years, stated, “I think this type of event is important to have at Drew because minority populations are increasing through enrollment, but that doesn't mean students feel comfortable and feel like they can be themselves on campus.” She explained that D&I creates spaces for individuals to learn about identity and its impact on different people. “Having a Latinx/Hispanic student panel allows students who identify a part of this specific diaspora to have control over their narrative and share.”
This event follows a theme of centering student voices. Leach highlighted previous events that focused on student voices such as the Politics of Hair Panel and their Lit(erature) Night, which also included staff voices. “It's a theme we've been sticking with and I think it is incredibly effective to make sure students are hearing from multiple voices on the same topic,” said Leach.
Leach, along with fellow D&I member Jaz’mine Freddie (‘20), announced different giveaways throughout the event. Each attendee was given three raffle tickets that they could put into the basket of whichever prize(s) they wanted. The small giveaways ranged from mugs to notebooks while the larger ones were bundles of a couple books and maybe a tote bag or a head wrap. There were also empanadas, maduros and arroz con frijoles available for the panelists and attendees to snack on.