(Photo above: A pop-up student exhibit responding to Hispanic Heritage in the Upper School library elicited an affirmation from BLSU co-head Zoe Rivera '20. Read more and view video highlights of last week's Hispanic Heritage-themed Upper School Gathering.)
Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15) sparked Princeton Day School's Black & Latinx Student Union to organize an informative and moving Upper School Gathering last week. BLSU co-heads Zoe Rivera '20, Ahzaria Silas '20 and Aidan Njanja Fassu '20 encouraged three peers to share some insights. Joshua Colon '21, Joe Santamaria '19, and Nashleen Salazar '19 each revealed some of the joys and challenges of their experiences as individuals who identify as Hispanic/Latinx. Students and faculty also brought a range of Hispanic/Latinx role models to life through filmed interviews and documentary clips, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, a World Boxing Conference Champion who launched the American Chicano movement in Denver, CO, and who played an active role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Rivera closed the Gathering with powerful remarks focused on essential questions she asked students, faculty and staff to consider. "What we as BLSU Co-heads wanted to achieve was a sharpened perception of what Hispanic/Latinx see as important to them, as well as to foster awareness for the trials, tribulations, and issues that we as people of color have to endure in society," Rivera explained afterward.
"While we also wanted to show the realism of what it means to be Hispanic," she continued, "the more heartfelt version we wanted to convey was the richness of culture that comes with being Hispanic/Latinx and why I and so many others are proud to identify. Derogatory characterization of people of color is not the answer - we are vivid, intense, and worthy of a seat at the table. While at the table, we want to share our experiences while also allowing those willing to learn to do just that." -Melanie Shaw
Zoe's concluding remarks at the Upper School Gathering are captured in the brief video here: