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New Student Organization welcomes everyone to celebrate Latinx students

New student organization welcomes everyone to celebrate Latinx students

By Indira Zaldivar

After learning that UHD did not have a student organization solely dedicated to celebrating Latinx students and teaching about Latinx culture, sophomore David Mesa Ventura started a new club that has welcomed over 120 members since its creation a month ago.

The brand-new Student Organization for Latinxs, is here to “create a safe and educational space where everybody, Latinx or non-Latinx students, can come together, learn from each other [and] the Latinx heritage,” according to Mesa Ventura, the club president.

The term Latinx is a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latinos and Latinas.

The 19-year-old was inspired to dedicate a community for himself, his friends, and current and future generations to learn to be more inclusive. “A lot of us are immigrants or immigrant-born, [or first-generation students], so we struggle together.”

He pointed out that while the campus is very diverse already, people are not connected and are “segregated by choice.”

“People are just scared to ask the hard questions and learn from each other,’” he added. “SOL can be a safe place for you to ask whatever questions you have with no judgement.”

Through SOL, Mesa Ventura wants to leave a legacy of open-mindedness and acceptance of Latinx culture for younger generations to expand on for many years.

“Hopefully at some point my dream would be for [the club] not to be there to educate people but to just celebrate us to the point that we are welcome no matter what,” Mesa Ventura said. “We don’t have to educate people on why we should be accepted, why we belong here, why we have to fight for our rights in this state.”

Besides his role at SOL, he is a student worker at Student Activities and serves as the vice president of SAGA as of spring. Mesa Ventura credited his SAGA Faculty Adviser John Hudson, who also directs the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, for pointing out during summer meetings the missing student organization. The last student organization similar to SOL was the Latin-American Student Services Organization roughly 20 years ago.

After gathering Hudson’s full support, Mesa Ventura first proposed the idea during SAGA meetings and later extended it out to everyone with the creation of the GroupMe chat and Instagram in mid-August. By the end of the first week of school, the club had all the officers and registered as a student organization with Student Activities.

Club Treasurer Danyelle Lopez said SOL provides an environment and community where she feels safe embracing her heritage and sharing it with others.

“I have always been questioned about my ethnicity, culture, and heritage because of the way I look,” Lopez said. “So, I was more than happy to join a community where I was not going to need to prove my identity as a member of the Latinx community.”

As an officer, she wants to provide a safe community where everyone can express their culture, heritage, emotions, and collaborating with different clubs for “magnificent” events. Her favorite thing about Latinx heritage is getting a better idea of all the cultures each Latinx may come from like, food, events, and beliefs.

“The way I celebrate Hispanic Heritage is by eating my favorite dishes, listening to my culture’s music more than I usually do, spend more time with my family, and remembering Hispanic heroes,” she added.

SOL has virtual educational sessions planned in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition, SOL will participate in the open forum on the state of the Latinx student at UHD on Sept. 28. After gathering funding, the club plans to host and participate in social events for the spring semester.

“The Latinx community, we are everywhere,” Mesa Ventura said. “We are women. We are men. We are queers. We are Afro-Latinos. We are everything, so we are going to celebrate everything.”

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