Comics, speakers, films highlight month of diverse activities
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Latinos and Latinas are an eclectic lot—some are Puerto Rican, others are Cuban, European, Mexican, or Central or South American.
And then there are those like comedian Ernie G, who is something of a one-man melting pot.
"I'm a Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Russian and French Catholic Jew," said Ernie G (full name: Ernesto Tomas Gritzewsky), who will perform with two other comics at 8 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Michigan Union Ballroom. "I am this country."
Performances by Ernie G, along with comics Noe Gonzalez and Peaches Rodriguez, are among the highlights of Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations on campus. At U-M, the activities run this week to the end of October.
"Ernie G's Comedy Fiesta" is sponsored by Dialogues on Diversity and University Unions. Of his fellow performers, Ernie G said Gonzalez "had a very typical Latino upbringing, working in his parents' restaurant since birth—he was born an employee," and Rodriguez "doesn't look like your typical Latina; she's 6 feet tall and a natural blonde."
That's one of the main themes of the heritage month: that not all Latinos and Latinas are alike.
"Sometimes the Latino community is referred to as a monochromatic whole, but it's not," said Steven Abbott, interim Latino coordinator and Native American coordinator for Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA).
"Part of being able to embrace diversity is to have an understanding of people's different backgrounds," said Donney Moroney, president of the Latino Faculty and Staff Association and co-director of counseling and student support at the Office of Student Programs in the Medical School. "We want people to understand the impact the Latino community has had—on campus, in Michigan and throughout the country."
This year's heritage month is happening at a time when a close presidential election is steering media coverage and stump speeches to the Latino community.
"The elections make it a particularly interesting time," said Patricia Aqui, director of MESA. "Nationally, a lot more attention is being paid to Latinos on the election front, and also in business and entertainment."
• Kickoff: A speech by Juan Mestas, chancellor of U-M-Flint, 4-6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Rackham Amphitheatre. Sponsored by the Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LFSA).
• Bienvenidos Dance, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Sept. 17 in the Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union. Sponsored by the Latino Task Force.
• "African Influence in Latin America," Sept. 20, time TBA, Michigan Union. Sponsored by Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc. and La Voz Latina.
• A film series at 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 21-Oct. 26, in 2306 Mason Hall as part of AC213: "Introduction to Latina/o Studies," a gateway course. The first film is "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez." Sponsored by Latina/o Studies.
• Latino Student Success program: a faculty and staff panel presentation, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 22, location TBA. Sponsored by La Voz Latina.
• Photo exhibit, ground floor of Haven Hall—called "Peregrinos del Norte Photo Exhibit" by Juan Javier Pescador, assistant professor at Michigan State University—Sept. 23 through the middle of October. Sponsored by Latina/o Studies.
• Speech by state Sen. Valde Garcia (R-Howell), 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Johnson Conference room of the Lurie Engineering Center. Sponsored by LFSA.
• Latino Dinner and Dance, 5-8 p.m. Sept. 26, William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center (1443 Washtenaw Ave.). Sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
• Latinos in Baseball, Sept. 28, time and location TBA. Sponsored by Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity Inc.
• Somos Familia panel, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 30, Michigan Union, room TBA. This first of a series explores lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues within the Latino community. Sponsored in cooperation with La Voz Latina and the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs (LGBTA).
• Indigenous Peoples Day/Dia de la Raza event, Oct. 12, time and location TBA. The event celebrates indigenous people and Dia de la Raza and explores the history and mythology behind Columbus and colonialism. Sponsored by La Voz Latina and the Native American Student Association.
• Latino Student Success program: "How to Get Into Graduate School," 6-8 p.m. Oct. 13, location TBA.
• Somos Familia Gender & Sexuality Discussion, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 21, Chavez Lounge, Mosher-Jordan Hall. Another in the series exploring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues within the Latino community. Sponsored in cooperation with La Voz Latina and LGBTA.
• La Voz Latina high school visit, Oct. 22 and 23.
• "Salute to Latinas," 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Michigan Union. Sponsored by the Delta Tau Lambda sorority.
• Gloria Anzaldua Memorial Lecture, Oct. 29, time and location TBA. Sponsored by LGBTA and the Latina/o Studies Program.
For updated time and location information, call (734) 763-9044.
Contact: Katie Gazella