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NMSU student groups present full schedule of events for Latino Week

Every year, student government funds various series of events that highlight cultural diversity at New Mexico State University. On the first day of March, four student organizations will celebrate Latino Week.

Comedian Gina Brillon will perform at 6 p.m. Friday, March 8, at the Corbett Center Student Union Auditorium. (Courtesy photo)

The students of the Hispanic Council decided to change the name from "Fiestas Latinas" to "Latino Week." These events have previously been advertised under the name "Chicano Week" as well. All of the events are proposed and organized by student leaders. This year, Latinos for Exito, the Hispanic-founded sorority Kappa Delta Chi and the CAMP Student Council are sponsoring events. The final event is sponsored by the Executive Committee of the Hispanic Council.

When asked how she feels about Latino Week, this year's Hispanic Council President, Jeneva Jio said, "It's the first ever Latino Week, signifying that Chicano Programs and Hispanic students are changing and willing to share that with everyone. NMSU is always open to all students and offers great multicultural events year round. NMSU students value diversity. I would encourage them to go because it offers them the opportunity to go see what is not offered on any other campus in terms of events sponsored by students themselves."

Latino Week kicks off with an outdoor performance of two "danzante" or "Matachines" groups presented by Latinos for Exito. The Matachines dance on some levels is a reenactment of a struggle between good and evil. Like many Latin American traditions, these dances reflect a mingling of pre-Columbian indigenous traditions and Spanish Catholic influences. Those who join the Matachines often do so for a deeper religious purpose. This dance is often performed in connection with major liturgical feast days.

The Matachines will perform at 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, outside the west entrance of the Corbett Center Student Union.

The Kappa Delta Chi sorority will present a screening of the movie "Sin Nombre," produced by Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at the Corbett Center Student Union Ballrooms. In the movie, Honduran teenager Sayra hopes to become reunited with her father. This provides an opportunity for her to potentially realize her dream of a life in the U.S. Moving to Mexico is the first step in a fateful journey of unexpected events. This drama represents the violent and brutal reality of this life and death journey.

The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Rated R for violence and sexual content, the screening is for mature audiences only.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Corbett Center Student Union Auditorium, the CAMP Student Council presents guest speaker Christine Chavez. The title of her talk is "The Legacy of Cesar Chavez." Chavez is the granddaughter of the most famous Latino civil rights activist to date, Cesar Chavez. Christine's grandfather worked with Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and others to improve working conditions and pay for farm workers of all backgrounds.

Chavez herself has made a lifetime commitment to public service, civil rights and the labor movement. Recently, Chavez joined the Rev. Al Sharpton to announce the formation of the Latino and African American Leadership Alliance in response to the escalating violence between Latinos and African Americans.

The event will begin with a reception in front of the Corbett Center Auditorium from 6-6:30 p.m. Chavez's speech will be from 6:30-7:30 p.m., followed by an open session for questions and discussion from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Latino Week will end on a light note featuring two comedians from the New York area. The students of the Hispanic Council and Chicano Programs have invited Bill Santiago and Gina Brillon to perform at 6 p.m. Friday, March 8, at the Corbett Center Student Union Auditorium. As is usual for most comedy shows geared toward adults, this event is for mature audiences only.

Bill Santiago filled the auditorium to standing room at last year's Fiestas Latinas Comedy Night.

Santiago returns to give another culturally focused comedy performance. Santiago is the author of the book "Pardon my Spanglish," which is a dead-on observation about Spanglish - "twice the vocabulary, half the grammar!" and is very well known for his catchphrase "Porque Because." The book is being used at universities and high schools across the country to stimulate discussion about identity, language and multiculturalism. Santiago makes the audience laugh about the cultural and linguistic commonalities and differences between different Latino groups.

Gina Brillon is a " Bronx-born Latina who has no trouble connecting with her male or female fans with her raw honesty about everything from what it's like being an 'Ethnic' to a brutal breakdown of the female mind." In her first performance at New Mexico State University, she will open for Bill Santiago.

The students of Hispanic Council and Chicano Programs thank ASNMSU for their steadfast support of Latino Week.