Last week the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) paid tribute to their culture by raising a flag in honor of Latin Pride Month. LASO held the opening ceremony next to the Student Center, which concentrated on “colorism and cultural identity,” as explained by member Shannel Paulino, who spoke at the event. After the ceremony, the organization members barbecued and listened to music.
Paulino touched on the history of Latin-Americans in her speech saying, despite the hardships of the past, “We have come to embrace our different cultures, languages, musical rhythms and dance practices.”
She also encouraged people from all different cultural backgrounds to join the group with the freedom to express their identities freely. She continued, “As we do this, we attempt to dismantle the rhetoric of critical dialects within our own countries such as “pelo malo/ pelo bueno” (bad hair/ good hair), “mejor la raza” (better the race – by marrying someone who is wealthy and of lighter skin) or “tu no eres nerga/o” (you are not black).”
The goals of LASO during Latin Pride Month are to help people with their self-identification and cultural-identification, to start uncomfortable and controversial, but needed, discourse and to educate the Montclair State community about Latin America and the Caribbean.