Marlborough Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Marlborough Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Marlborough kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month with the Organized Latinx Exchange’s (OLE) Annual Latino Family BBQ on Saturday, September 11. 

Marlborough Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Marlborough kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month with the Organized Latinx Exchange’s (OLE) Annual Latino Family BBQ on Saturday, September 11. 

“It’s OLE’s signature event and an event that quickly became a tradition at Marlborough. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t host the BBQ last year, and we felt it,” says group advisor and Dean of Social Justice and Community Partnerships Ms. Pamela Wright. “It’s an event that is authentically Latino.”

Families that identify as Hispanic/Latino came to campus for the first time in eighteen months for this event. The BBQ included star-shaped piñatas, Salvadoran pupusas and Mexican bolis, a frozen ice cream-like treat. Together, attendees played games, including musical chairs and Lotería, and celebrated the proud culture that unites them together.

“My favorite part of the family BBQ was the piñata. It made this event feel like a real family event. It was genuinely heartwarming to see the kids participating and everyone singing –  I began to get emotional,” shares OLE co-leader Dana M. ’22.

The event also gave Marlborough’s Latino families, who had not met prior, an opportunity to come together. 

“I loved meeting students in grades below me and also witnessing different connections family members made with each other,” says Eva R. ’22, OLE co-leader. “For instance, my family is from Chile, and we were able to bond with another Chilean Marlborough family which was really nice. I don’t think we would have met (since we’re in different grades) if it weren’t for the BBQ.”

Co-leader Sophia K. ’24 shared this sentiment. 

“One of the highlights of the BBQ was seeing some girls at Marlborough who are Latina, with parents who are only fluent in Spanish, connect with other parents who also speak Spanish. It’s really heartwarming to see.”

Currently, 9% of Marlborough’s student population identifies as Hispanic/Latinx. OLE serves as a safe and inclusive environment for all Latinx-identifying students on campus, uplifting all voices, and together, working to embrace the Latinx culture and heritage through each other and Marlborough’s curriculum. 

Earlier this month, OLE gathered for their first official group meeting of the school year. Students had the opportunity to get to know each other and share their feelings with the following prompt: “What does your Latinidad mean to you?” Students then posted their answers on a community bulletin board.

“For me, it means being a part of a family and honoring my culture,” wrote OLE co-leader Kristi M. ’23.

Other answers included, “embracing who you are,” “encouraging others and myself to be ourselves in an authentic way,” and “a community.”

The theme of inclusion and community has started a national conversation about the name “Hispanic Heritage Month,” with many saying they would prefer a more inclusive label of “Latino-,” “Latinx-,” or “Latine Heritage Month.”

Sophia K. shares, “To me, the point of the month is to celebrate people from all different cultures. I think it [Hispanic Heritage Month] should be labeled ‘Latinx’ or something more inclusive for everyone in different countries, no matter where on the continent you’re located or what language you speak.”

Dana M. agrees, preferring “Latinx Heritage Month” as well. “The terminology ‘Hispanic’ excludes Brazilians, which is upsetting since this month is meant to bring to light historically marginalized cultures,” she says. “Brazilians are also victims of colonization and should be included within these celebrations.”

All four OLE co-leaders have been excited to see the diversity and growth of the group, particularly with new 7th- and 9th-grade students.

“Our goal is to play a role in fostering a safe space for all Latina/o/e/x on campus,” says Eva R. “OLE has given me so much, and I think it is something so special to the Marlborough community.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 of each year, commemorating the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It expands four weeks to reflect Mexico’s, Chile’s and Belize’s Independence days, ending on October 15.

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