For Gina Garcia, Hispanic Heritage Month is more than just a celebration – it’s about highlighting a community that suffers from injustice and injustice.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is not all about partying, dancing and eating– That’s not what we want, ”said Garcia, chair of the Latinx Connect conference. “We want it to really be a call to justice and justice because this is a community that is facing enormous inequality.”
Pitt will be the end of the Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month with Latinx Connect, a virtual conference. The conference runs Thursday through Sunday and is hosted by Pitt’s Office for Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion. There is no registration deadline and anyone can take part in over 60 programs, workshops and panels.
According to website, the conference “aims to move us beyond ‘celebrating’ Latinxs. “ Gina Garcia, and Educational foundations Professor and chair of the Pitt Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, said that because of the small size of the Latinx and Hispanic communities in Pittsburgh and Pitt, holding a successful conference is “a pretty big deal.”
“We can’t reinforce negative stereotypes in a place where we’re a really small community,” Garcia said. “In the beginning, it was really about creating awareness and bringing awareness to the community. And this year we started pushing for advocacy and educational programs, and raising awareness on issues like immigration, undocumentation, elections, and other political and health issues. “
With the largest planning committee yet for Pitt’s Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, Garcia said organizing the conference was “the next step.” Garcia and her committee organized more than 60 events – including salsa dance lessons, a Policy & Advocacy Panel on Current Latinx Affairs in Pennsylvania and Live Music.
All conference events are held through Zoom and attendees can access Zoom links to conference events through Canvas. If you want to register, you only have to fill out a briefing shape that includes their name, email address, and Pitt affiliation. The conference is completely free.
Ron Idoko, Pitts Diversity and Multicultural Program Manager, said he joined Garcia in June following the recent success of the Diversity forum – an annual summer forum hosted by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Idoko, who heads the Diversity Forum, said this year was her biggest participation yet.
Idoko says he reached out to Garcia about a conference because he is always looking for ways to engage the Pitt community.
“I tend to be what I call a thoughtful pusher,” said Idoko. “We have a lot of really talented and incredible researchers, scientists and experts in our community. So how do we work to keep improving their work? So for me, I always try to be someone who can be a catalyst for these greater opportunities for engagement. ”
According to a spokesman for the university, Pitt created the Latinx Connect conference to “create space for open and authentic conversations”.
“The University of Pittsburgh’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is proud to host the Latinx Connect Conference,” said the speaker – in a way that deepens our understanding of Latinx culture, identities, challenges and triumphs. “
Parallel to the conference, there will be a Latinx artifact exhibition where anyone can submit pictures of artifacts with personal and meaningful meaning. Artifacts are shared online and on Pitt’s social media pages. The deadline for submission is Friday.
Idoko said he found the artifact display “really powerful” because “the power of creative expression adds to how art can be used to influence our understanding.”
“We use the artifact storefront for people to really highlight different parts of their culture,” said Idoko. “Creating that kind of insight is really powerful for our learning – So we’re really happy that people are receptive to it and share parts of themselves. ”
Idoko said they didn’t want to make the conference “too academic” from the start. Instead, the committee aimed to create a “community-oriented” conference.
“We recognize and welcome learning from all aspects, from all members of the community – It creates a really unique opportunity to bring people from different places together, ”said Idoko. “This is not a purely academic exercise – that is community-oriented. “