October 14, 2022

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Bryant & Stratton College

By B&SC Blog Team

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Bryant & Stratton College

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated to promote the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic Americans – specifically those with ancestors who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This year’s theme for the 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month from Hispanic Star, a non-profit set to advance Hispanics in the U.S., was “Elevate the Narrative.” Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually from September 15 to October 15, and we’ve been highlighting examples of Latine excellence within the college in our staff and instructors – inspiring current and future Latine staff and students to elevate their own narrative.

At Bryant & Stratton College we are proud of our deep history of supporting equality and diversity. This Hispanic Heritage Month we highlighted examples of Latine excellence within the college in our staff, students, and instructors – inspiring current and future Latine staff and students to elevate their own narrative.

History of Hispanic Heritage Month

To kick off our celebration, Albany Market Director Mike Gutierrez took us through a brief history of the origins of Hispanic Heritage Month while also reflecting on his deep roots in Hispanic culture. His great grandmother came to the United States from Puerto Rico in 1920 in search of a better life. “For me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of those individuals that helped to change America. I look at my family and realize how proud I am of where my great-grandmother started to where we are today,” Mike said. He continued to talk about how important culture is – from food and music to dance and storytelling, and more.

Language and Identity

Liliana Mateo, director of Admissions at Bryant & Stratton College Amherst campus, spoke on the importance of language when it comes to “elevating the narrative.” Liliana was born in the United States but her first language is Spanish. Liliana spent the first few years of her life in the Dominican Republic and then came back to the U.S., where she then learned English and realized how much the two languages differ.

Since the Hispanic Community is so broad, different communities have different words they prefer to use as their identity. Culture is constantly evolving, and our language follows suit. Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, and Latine are a few of the terms that have evolved throughout the years to conform to ever-changing language and cultures.

“Language and dialect within Hispanic culture differs from country to country, so I was raised to be careful of what I say. What might mean one thing in one country can mean something different in another,” Liliana said. Since the Hispanic community is so broad, different communities have different words they prefer to use as their identity.

Celebrating Heritage

The beautiful and colorful culture of Hispanic Heritage is passed from generation to generation as we “access the collective consciousness that is deeply embedded in our passage through the existence we call life,” said Bryant & Stratton College online instructor Carlos Mayo Perlaza. Carlos came to the United States with his family to reach the American Dream when he was just 11 years old.

Reflecting on the importance of storytelling in his culture, Carlos said, “We all find rooting in our own essence. Music, storytelling, dance, and food are part of the greatest elements that have built my awareness of my cultural heritage and how I can connect with my ancestors through these beautiful elements. They are instilled in who I am.”

Elevating the Narrative at Bryant & Stratton College

Mike Gutierrez, Liliana Mateo, and Carlos Perlaza continue to share stories from their cultures and educate the people around them every day. We are proud to have each of them as part of our diverse Bobcat family.

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