CMAS holds showcase for Hispanic Heritage month

Marina Vences

The Center for Mexican American Studies held a Pan-Latin Showcase on Thursday night on West Mall to celebrate different representations of Hispanic countries on campus through dance and music. Groups such as Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán, UT Tango Club and Austin group Yo Amo a Peru performed at the event.

Latino/a studies junior Lucero Estrella was the master of ceremonies for the showcase and said CMAS has worked with different organizations throughout the month to put on a variety of events that demonstrate Hispanic culture from all over Latin America.

“September is when a lot of [Hispanic] countries got their independence … and we want to showcase what those countries have become through different UT groups,” Estrella said.

Kimberley Castro, an international relations and global studies freshman, plays the vihuela, a five-string guitar-like instrument used mostly for mariachi music, for the Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán.

Castro said she hopes to share her culture with UT students who come from different backgrounds. 

“Through the music, we really hope to showcase a part of Mexican culture and share that with people who are not normally exposed to it,” Castro said. “Because UT is such a diverse campus, we want to celebrate the different cultures here.”

Biology freshman Sophia Villarreyna said she attended the showcase because she loves to see performances from her culture and feels she has a place at UT because of them.

“At my old school, there was a majority Hispanic population, so coming to UT was a culture shock,” Villarreyna said. “Having these events creates a sense of community among Hispanic students that makes it a better experience to be here.”

Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 during LBJ’s presidency but was expanded to last 30 days in 1988 by the Ronald Reagan administration.

CMAS has a calendar of events year-round that represents every country in Latin America. Estrella said she wants people to know how imperative it is to have all of the countries shown and celebrated.

“We want everyone to realize its not just Mexican students here. There are Puerto Rican, Peruvian and Salvadorian people,” Estrella said. “There are a lot of different groups that make up the Hispanic community, so it’s important to represent that.”