September 15, 2020

Purdue University to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion will observe Hispanic Heritage Month with an inaugural keynote event featuring Dolores Huerta, Julián Castro and Maria Hinojosa.

"We are excited for Purdue’s institutional commitment in observing Hispanic Heritage Month through the Division of Diversity and Inclusion," says Carina Olaru, director of the Latino Cultural Center. "The Hispanic Heritage Month committee has worked to provide numerous opportunities for students and the community to come together and learn of numerous ways Latinx communities are making giant leaps in communities, business, education, the arts and more."

Hispanic Heritage Month starts Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. Olaru encourages people to visit the Latino Cultural Center or the center's website to learn more about services, educational offerings and services provided to students and the community. During this time, visitors to the center will need to follow Protect Purdue requirements, including wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion Hispanic Heritage Month Committee members who organized the keynote event and other initiatives to support Latino faculty, staff and students at Purdue University are Guadalupe Acosta Roberts, College of Liberal Arts; Rodrigo Bañuelos, College of Science; Wilfrido Cruz, University Residences; Carina Olaru, Latino Cultural Center; Jesus Romero, Leadership Development and Latino Faculty and Staff Association co-chair; and Kamilah Valentin Diaz, a student in the College of Liberal Arts and social media chair for Purdue Immigrant Allies.  

To see the list of events the Latino Cultural Center has planned, visit its website. All events are free, but registration is required and can be done through the center’s event website. Events are:

  • Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.: Division of Diversity and Inclusion’s Hispanic Heritage Month inaugural keynote event speakers Dolores Huerta and Julián Castro, moderated by Maria Hinojosa. Huerta is an activist who works on issues surrounding economic injustice and legislation that addresses equality and civil rights. She was instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975. Castro recently ran in the Democratic presidential primaries. He served most recently as secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014-17. Hinojosa, who will serve as moderator, launched the Futuro Media Group in 2010 and is anchor and executive producer of NPR’s “Latino USA” and anchor of “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One.” This presentation is part of Purdue’s “Pursuing Racial Justice Together” series, which will be conducted virtually. Interested participants may visit the program’s website for virtual tickets and admission instructions.
  • Sept. 29, 6 p.m.: “Ain’t I Latina? A Fireside Chat with Janel Martinez.” Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of Ain’t I Latina?, an online destination covering culture, identity, and the celebration of Afro-Latinas. The conversation will be facilitated by members of Purdue’s Black Student Union and the Latinx Student Union. This event is co-sponsored by Purdue’s Black Cultural Center, Black Student Union, Latinx Student Union and School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • Sept. 30, 6 p.m. “An Evening with Elizabeth Acevedo.” Acevedo is a New York Times bestselling author of “The Poet X,” “With the Fire on High” and “Clap When You Land.” Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, “The Poet X,” won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. This event is co-sponsored with La Casa Cultural Latina at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, La Casa Latino Cultural Center at Indiana University, and Purdue’s Black Cultural Center, Black Student Union, Creative Writing Center, Latinx Student Union and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • Oct.5, 6 p.m. “Latinx Identity and Blackness in the U.S. with Dr. Ariana Curtis.” Ariana Curtis is the first curator of Latinx Studies at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. In this role she leads museum research and collections related to U.S. Latinx, U.S. Afro-Latinx, African American and Latinx, the African Diaspora in Latin America, and African American migrations to and engagement with Latin America. Curtis has served as both author and editorial committee member for “Smithsonian American Women: Remarkable Objects and Stories of Strength, Ingenuity and Vision from the National Collection.” This event is co-sponsored by Purdue’s Black Cultural Center, Black Student Union, Latinx Student Union and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

About Purdue University

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Writer, Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell),, @mo_oates

Source: Carina Olaru, 

Note to journalists: Journalists are invited to cover the events. Journalists can go online and secure a ticket. Registration for each event ends at 3 p.m. on the event day. Journalists are allowed to record the first 10 minutes for use on broadcasts, but the recording cannot be posted online with web stories. All events are virtual – the speakers will not be on campus. For images of speakers and other media inquiries, visit the press website for the series at Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

Journalists visiting campus: Journalists should follow Protect Purdue protocols and the following guidelines:

  • Campus is open, but the number of people in spaces may be limited. We will be as accommodating as possible, but you may be asked to step out or report from another location.
  • To enable access, particularly to campus buildings, we recommend you contact the Purdue News Service media contact listed on the release to let them know the nature of the visit and where you will be visiting. A News Service representative can facilitate safe access and may escort you on campus.
  • Correctly wear face masks inside any campus building, and correctly wear face masks outdoors when social distancing of at least six feet is not possible.

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