Unidos Club Members Share Why Hispanic Heritage Month is Important to Them


Jasmine McIntosh

“We do a lot for the community and the country, and I think our presence is really important,” senior Sid Lefranc said.

Lucy MacNeela, Editor

Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in an effort to honor and acknowledge the many accomplishments of Latiné people in the U.S. 

Latiné is a genderless term often used in place of Latino or Latina. Since the Spanish letter “E” is also in other commonly used Spanish words it is easier to integrate into daily vocabulary than other terms like Latinx. 

Along with the rest of the country, La Salle observes the month and uses it as a time to educate students and raise awareness about other cultural communities present within the student body. 

“The kids in Unidos are praying once a week over the intercom,” Ms. Adriana Noesi, Director of Community and Unidos club moderator said. “They’re highlighting something about Hispanic Heritage Month, or they’re doing a prayer by a saint from Latin America or Spain.” 

Unidos club is also planning on setting up a homeroom activity that shares a little bit about the Latiné experience in America and issues regarding migrant workers. Club members have also hung up posters in the school cafeteria that illustrate both the struggles and triumphs of being Latiné in America. 

In the future, they hope to expand the scope of the club by both getting more members involved as well as heightening their voice in the school community, a hope which they know will be supported by the La Salle community and administration because of their support of Unidos this year. 

These homeroom presentations are also a way for Unidos to talk about the accomplishments of their ancestors and change the perception of Latiné people in the media, as they are often “overlooked or portrayed in the media as undocumented immigrants who are criminals,” Ms. Noesi said.

The Unidos club believes that education about these misleading statements and untrue sentiments about the Hispanic community leads to more respectful and understanding individuals. So, educating La Salle students is one way Unidos hopes to create positive change in breaking the stereotypes that exist about Latiné people. 

“I’m hoping that we can do more community-based activities,” senior and Unidos club co-president Sid Lefranc said. “We did a lot of food sales in the past which are a nice way to introduce people to one part of our culture, and when I say our culture, that’s all of Latino culture, and there’s so many different countries that go into that.”

Not everyone that celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates it in the same way. Senior and Unidos co-president Cassie Ramirez shared that she and her family go to El Grito at the Moda Center at the start of Hispanic Heritage Month every year with her family. At this celebration, there are Hispanic food trucks, traditional dancing, and an overall sense of community. “It’s just kind of fun to hear Hispanic music and be able to dance to it and kind of be surrounded by strangers but know that you guys all share this one thing that kind of brings you guys together,” Ramirez said. 

The purpose of this nationally recognized month is to acknowledge the huge role that Latiné people have in making America what it is today. “I acknowledge [Hispanic Heritage Month] because it’s not just a day for you to celebrate [Hispanic heritage],” junior Evelyn Barrera said. “You can celebrate that every day. I think it’s more about telling other people your story about your ancestors.”

Some people in the Unidos club shared the same sentiment, saying that it is not just a one-month celebration but rather a daily recognition. 

“It’s important because there’s a really strong Hispanic presence in the U.S., we’re here,” Lefranc said. Hispanic people make up 18 percent of the U.S. population, making them the largest racial minority in the country. “And I think we add a lot to the community in the country as a whole, so it’s good to appreciate the diversity around us, and that includes Hispanic peoples.” 

Hispanic is a blanket term that describes many people from all over Central and South America. “It’s good to recognize that every Hispanic person is not the same and that we shouldn’t all categorize them as like Mexicans or categorize them as another type just because it’s a bigger population,” Ramirez said.

Latiné culture is also present in many parts of the U.S. through food, community celebrations, or recognition of Hispanic holidays, such as Dia de los Muertos. 

In the future, Lefranc hopes that the Unidos club will be able to “do more things with the community and then learn more about those cultures that even some of us in Unidos club aren’t super familiar with.” This month celebrates all Latin countries, even those that are not often recognized. 

In terms of what individuals can do to celebrate and participate in Hispanic Heritage Month, Unidos asks people “to shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants, and skip Chipotle once and go to the local taqueria,” Ms. Noesi said. 

Others believe that simply being a kind person is another way to celebrate this month. “They don’t really have to do anything,” Barrera said. “Just a smile to everyone.” 

There are numerous outlets for people to participate in as a way to support Hispanic Heritage Month. 

“I would just want them to take away the importance of what it means to celebrate another person that’s [from] another culture,” Ramirez said.