By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing at Eastern New Mexico University.
The office of Hispanic Affairs is celebrating this period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. by putting on multiple events on campus that are open to the public.
“Our goal is to bring cultural awareness through education and we want to involve all the students. You don’t have to be Hispanic. We want everyone to come celebrate the culture and learn about it,” said Doreen Chavez, director of ENMU Hispanic American Affairs.
According to Chavez, Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
The Hispanic Affairs office has multiple events upcoming.
“I’m helped organize the ENMU Reina Competition,” said Marria Orrantia, who works in the Hispanic Affairs Office. “We’re doing a poster competition, and the winner gets a scholarship. Woody’s Jewelry also donates a crown every year,” added Orrantia. The ENMU Reina competition is Wednesday.
Chavez is excited about the upcoming Chile Eating Contest Oct. 9 at the ENMU cafeteria.
“We’re going to have all kinds of peppers, including the ghost pepper, which is supposed to be one of the hottest peppers there are,” said Chavez.
ENMU graduate student Maria Garcia, a native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, has presented the past three years at ENMU Hispanic Heritage Month. On Tuesday, she schooled the crowd on Mexican music.
“I talked about the five most important genres of Mexican music; Ranchera, mariachi, nortena, corridos and banda. I played them music and even danced a little,” Garcia said with a laugh.
On Wednesday, Jesus M. Jurado Mendoza, director of the Spanish Resource Center of National Hispanic Culture Center, explained programs run by the Education Office of Spain in New Mexico that give Americans the opportunity to teach and learn the Spanish language and culture and Spain.
A common misconception is that Hispanic culture applies to only Spaniards or Mexicans. Hispanic Affairs employee Rey Coss cleared it up.
“We try to never do anything the same. There are 21 countries, and we want to represent all of them,” said Coss as he pointed to flag banner in the Hispanic Affairs office that showed all 21 flags of the Spanish speaking countries.