By Yasi Bahmanabadi

For thesis student Liz Mena, embracing and honoring Latinx culture has been integral to her New College experience. This year, she is helping extend the campus-wide celebration long after its nationally designated month.

National Hispanic Heritage Month technically runs from September 15 to October 15, but Latinx Heritage Month at New College will continue through December.

A gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina, Latinx refers to people of Latin American ethnicity in the United States (in recent years, New College has begun using Latinx instead of Latino or Hispanic to describe its heritage events). And while last year’s events were entirely virtual due to the pandemic, this year will offer more of a hybrid experience. Most of the events—planned by students in New College’s Latinx Club, as well as faculty and staff—will be held on campus and open to the public.

“This celebration is not just to acknowledge that we are here, but that our culture, our stories, our journeys coming to the U.S., and even our journeys back home are worth celebrating,” said Mena, one of the event planners whose area of concentration at New College is international and area studies. “We want to celebrate each other, where we come from, and our hard work and how difficult and amazing our journey has been.”

To this end, the schedule of upcoming events for Latinx Heritage Month includes lectures, music concerts, and even an outdoor craft fair and market called El Mercadito de Identidades (the Market of Identities).

“The intention [of the market] is to celebrate Latinx creators on campus and anything they have been making—art or anything else crafty,” said Mena, who planned the event. “I grew up going to an outdoor market (a Mexican market) with my mom, so I wanted to replicate the same vibe in our celebration—a laid-back, relaxed and fun type of event.”

The market is just part of the fun. The lineup, from October to December, includes:

“El Mercadito de Identidades” (Market of Identities) at noon Sat. Oct. 23 in The Nook (the residential side of campus). This will be an afternoon filled with art, music and food, as Latinx New College students perform, promote and sell their creative work.

“Traditional Ecological Knowledge” presentation by Pedro Uc Be at 5 p.m. Wed. Oct. 27 via Zoom (link here). Uc Be—a writer, translator and teacher—will discuss how he promotes and protects Mayan culture and land.

“Dia de Todos los Santos y Dia de los Fieles Difuntos (All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day) from an International Perspective” celebration at sunset on Mon. Nov. 1 and Tues. Nov. 2 in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library and on the bayfront campus. This event invites people to learn about the different ways these sacred days are celebrated across various Latin American cultures.

“Latinization of Florida” presentation by Jorge Duany, Ph.D. at 5 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 18 via Zoom (link here). Scholar Duany will compare the socioeconomic profile and cultural practices of Cubans and Puerto Ricans in Florida, and assess their impact on the state’s political landscape.

Plena Mar Latino concert at 5 p.m. Sat. Dec. 4 on the bayfront campus. The band Plena Mar Latino specializes in plena (a rhythmic style of Puerto Rican music) and other Afro-Puerto Rican musical genres.

For more information on these and other Latinx Heritage Month events at New College, visit

Yasi Bahmanabadi is an intern in the Office of Communications & Marketing.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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