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Events planned to mark Hispanic Heritage Month

Erica Alfaro gained worldwide media attention in May when, after earning a graduate degree from San Diego State University, she decided to take photos with her parents in the field where she worked as a child.

Cultural performances and a keynote speaker who captured the world's attention earlier this year will highlight Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15-Oct. 15, at the University of North Georgia (UNG).

Erica Alfaro gained worldwide media attention in May when, after earning a graduate degree from San Diego State University, she decided to take photos with her parents in the field where she worked as a child.

Alfaro will be the keynote speaker Oct. 8 on UNG's Dahlonega Campus and Oct. 9 on the Gainesville Campus.

"I never thought that one day my story could serve as an inspiration to others," Alfaro said. "The strong and positive reaction made me realize that a lot of people can relate. I can serve as an example that it is possible to achieve a higher education."

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 to mark the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexican Independence Day follows Sept. 16 and Chile's is Sept. 18. President Lyndon Johnson launched Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a month in 1988.

UNG's Multicultural Student Affairs, Latino Student Association, Latin American Student Organization, and the Department of Spanish are all involved in events scheduled for the month.

Sheila Sanchez, a junior from Flowery Branch, Georgia, pursuing a degree in psychology, is excited to hear Alfaro share her story at UNG.

"Sometimes you need that little push while in college, and it's nice to have someone you can look up to who's been through struggles," Sanchez said. "It's nice to have them as an example."

The Expo Cultural, set for Sept. 25 on the Gainesville Campus and Oct. 9 on the Dahlonega Campus, will invite students to share information about a Hispanic country they have family connections to or simply a country in which they have an interest.

On Sept. 28, a group will perform Capoeira, a unique Brazilian art form with African origins that incorporates flowing dance moves, complex acrobatics and martial arts movements such as kicks and chops.

Selena Chavez-Gomez, a junior from Gainesville, Georgia, pursuing a criminal justice degree through UNG's Public Safety Academy, appreciates the discussions Hispanic Heritage Month facilitates.

"We have hard conversations about what the Hispanic community faces," Chavez-Gomez said. "We can embrace who we are."

Hispanic Heritage Month events

Gainesville Campus

  • Latino Student Association study abroad fair, noon Sept. 16, Robinson Ballroom.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month movie screening, 11 a.m. Sept. 20, Robinson Ballroom.
  • Expo Cultural, noon Sept. 25, Robinson Ballroom.
  • Capoeira performance, 3 p.m. Sept. 28, Robinson Ballroom.
  • Keynote speaker Erica Alfaro, noon Oct. 9, Robinson Ballroom.
  • Latino Student Association flan in the face, noon Oct. 16, Robinson Ballroom.

 Dahlonega Campus

  • The Roundtable diversity dialogue session, "What About It: The Border," 12:30-2 p.m. Sept. 18, Hoag ABC Rooms
  • Latin American Student Organization trivia night, 6 p.m. Sept. 18, Hoag ABC Rooms.
  • Diversity panel on Spanish culture, noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 19, Hoag ABC Rooms.
  • Movie with Meaning, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20, Hoag ABC Rooms.
  • Latin American Student Organization discussion night, 6 p.m. Sept. 25, Hoag ABC Rooms.
  • Loteria night (traditional Hispanic card game and candy), 6 p.m. Oct. 2, Hoag ABC Rooms.
  • Keynote speaker Erica Alfaro, 5 p.m. Oct. 8, Young Hall 202.
  • Expo Cultural, 6 p.m. Oct. 9, Hoag ABC Rooms.
  • Latin Fever Dance, 7 p.m. Oct. 16, Hoag ABC Rooms.

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