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Event with actress Jackie Cruz headlines Hispanic Heritage Month at UNG

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Actress Jackie Cruz will serve as the Hispanic Heritage Month keynote speaker in a virtual event set for 6 p.m. Sept. 16.

University of North Georgia (UNG) students, faculty and staff on all campuses may take part in this year's Hispanic Heritage Month events, which will be offered virtually.

Most events will be available through Zoom links attached to their listings in UNG Connect. The cultural celebration month runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

Actress Jackie Cruz will serve as the keynote speaker at 6 p.m. Sept. 16. The event with Cruz is open to the public, with registration available through Zoom. Cruz's most prominent role to date came as Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales in the Netflix original series "Orange Is the New Black." Cruz nearly died in a car crash at age 16 and required emergency brain surgery for her injuries. In March 2019, she began sharing some of the struggles she faced in the aftermath of the accident in hopes of helping others.

"A lot of students this year have needed to show their resiliency," said Dr. Robert Robinson, director of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA). "To have someone we've seen a great deal on TV share their narrative of overcoming obstacles will give students hope and enlightenment."

The MSA office is also holding a Hispanic Heritage Month movie night at 7 p.m. Sept. 24. The Netflix Party platform, which can be accessed through a UNG Connect listing, for the movie will allow students to chat online about the film while it is playing. A movie will be selected about a week before the event.

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 on 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 MSA, Latino Student Association (LSA) and Latin American Student Organization (LASO) are all involved in the events.

On Sept. 12, LSA and LASO will host a suicide prevention discussion that is open for students and parents. The slideshow will be in English, and the speakers will talk in Spanish.

A cultural expo on Oct. 14 will give students the chance to share facts about different Hispanic countries.

Nathalia Ingles, a sophomore from Buford, Georgia, pursuing a communication degree with a concentration in public relations, is the president of LSA.

"We are so excited to have Hispanic Heritage Month and share our culture through these events," Ingles said. "It's important for our students to know they are valuable and they belong here."

Noemi Nolasco, a sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, pursuing a degree in modern languages with a Spanish language and literature concentration, is the LASO president. The organization provided a second home for her as a freshman, and she hopes LASO can gain greater visibility among Latino students on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

"We want to demonstrate to the Hispanics we have on the Dahlonega Campus that you have a home here," Nolasco said.

Robinson is excited about the things students will learn as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

"The Latinx experience in America is an inspirational one. We want our students to take pride in their cultures," Robinson said. "America is a tapestry of many cultures coming together, and we take pride in showcasing these cultures."

Ingles hopes students of all backgrounds will take advantage of the opportunities.

"We want to make sure UNG students feel like they have a family," Ingles said. "And that's the atmosphere we try to create."

Hispanic Heritage Month events

  • Sept. 12: Suicide prevention presentation with LSA, 11 a.m.
  • Sept. 16: Keynote speaker Jackie Cruz, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 16: Hispanic Heritage Month intro, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 23: Independence Days in Latin America, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 23: Dance night with LASO, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 24: Hispanic Heritage Month movie to be announced, Netflix Party platform through link in UNG Connect listing, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 30: Discussion night, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 2: Cafe Artístico open mic, 7 p.m.
  • Week of Oct. 5 (exact days to be announced): Cooking with LSA, Instagram Live (@lsa.ung)
  • Oct. 7: Loteria/Game night, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 14: Game night, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 14: Cultural expo, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 21: Noche de Musica, 7 p.m.

All events in Zoom though links available in UNG Connect listings, unless otherwise listed.

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