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A-block – Auditorium: Latinx Experience
March 17, 2016
The Latinx Experience: Unidad con Diversidad assembly consisted of storytelling by several Latin-American students and a presentation by Organizing Director at The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition Cristina Aguilera.
Latinx is the gender inclusive noun to refer to someone from a Central American, South American or Caribbean country. It is non-binary and is not male dominant.
The assembly began with a video showing various clips of insults to Hispanic and Latinx people. An infamous clip of presidential candidate Donald Trump making offensive comments about Mexicans drew boos from the audience.
The first speaker was senior Jose Merida who gave a passionate and moving talk about his experience with illegal immigration and being Latinx in the United States. He said that he learned to assimilate and fly below the radar for acceptance and safety.
“I understood early on that standing out was dangerous,” said Merida. However, he said that, as he grew up and eventually got citizenship, he realized that he shouldn’t have to hide and be silent.
“I can stand up for my people who are called criminals and rapists,” he said. In conclusion he thanked his parents, who were present and the assembly, and received a standing ovation for his moving story.
Next, Aguilera spoke about the perception of Latinxes in the country and how they are typically seen as “taking,” even though they give a lot to our society.
“I invite you to think big on how similar you are to your Latino brother and sister and how those differences contribute to you and your community,” she said.
Following her presentation, seniors Kerimel Suriel Guerrero and Sofia Morera talked about what they thought being Latinx meant. Morera said that, while being loud is thought of as a negative stereotype for Latinas, she is proud of her loudness. “Loud to me is not being afraid to speak up,” she said, “I am aware enough to have an opinion.” Their talk made strong points about how the high school needs to change in order to be a more accepting place. One major point they made was that the teacher faculty doesn’t represent the diversity of the student body. Morera said that she has had less five teachers of color and only one of them was Latinx.
The talks as a whole revolved around the importance of acknowledging these racial tensions and stereotypes and being aware, empathetic and respectful of Latinx’s race and culture.