Story by Leah Ash, Culture Editor
Photos courtesy of Ashley Rodriguez
On Saturday, October 1, the Aquinas Latinx Student Association (LXSA) invited Aquinas community members, as well as the Grand Rapids community, to join them in a celebration of Latinx culture. The event, LatinFest, is an annual tradition that the organization hosts with the support of the Center of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
“LXSA was founded on the goal and hope to educate individuals both the AQ community and Grand Rapids about the LatinX culture and traditions that have enriched our society,” said Ashley Rodriguez, LXSA co-president. “Our goal for LatinFest was to provide an opportunity to the AQ and GR community to gather together and not only acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month through a series of outlooks, but to experience the culture.”
This year, the fest included a taco truck with free, unlimited food for attendees as well as traditional Latinx sweets. Besides food, there were other traditional activities that people could learn about and take part in. Executive board member Wendy Jiménez-Padilla gave a dance performance that focused on different styles from various Latinx cultures. Dancing was not the only Latinx activity to take part in, as there was a pinata as well, which is well-known by many Latinx communities.
LatinFest is a time of joy and celebration, with people of all cultures and backgrounds coming together to learn and enjoy the Latinx culture. However, Latinfest is one event out of many that LXSA puts on throughout the year.
“Currently we are working to be involved in Fall Fest and the upcoming holiday, Dia de Los Muertos,” Rodriguez said. “We are hoping to provide a painting event of cantaritos at the Moose for our fall special of a famous Latinx drink, Champurrado. We are also hoping to collaborate with Campus Ministry to place an altar at the chapel.”
While LatinFest is celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month, LXSA operates year round as a safe place for students and is always working to educate others about the Latinx community.
“We want to do this in a manner that spreads awareness of issues Latinx communities face while also introducing and remembering Latinx culture and the voices that we have on the campus,” Rodriguez said.