Poetry in Spanish for Hispanic Heritage Month

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Amid the busy goings-on in front of the University Campus Center Tuesday four young women read a poem by Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero.

“Yo soy un hombre sincero…..” (A sincere man am I)

The wind fluttered the pages. Fellow students walked by. A few stopped to listen.

The young women were members of the Latino Cultural Society, who want to spread knowledge about the diversity, history and culture of Latinos to their fellow students and to the Carroll County community.

“I wish more people were knowledgeable about Hispanic culture and weren’t so easy to put it aside – ‘Oh, they are all Mexican,’ ” said Marie Sanjurjo, the president of the club.

“I’m Puerto Rican and I’m a dark-skinned Puerto Rican. It’s always been hard for me because no one ever really considers me Hispanic because I don’t look the part. I try to inform people that those are all stereotypes,” she said. 

Sanjurjo is a 20-year-old junior who is originally from south New Jersey, close to Philadelphia.

“We all look different,” Sanjurjo said. “Every country has different shades of colors, of people. We are all descendants of different things. Indians. Africans. People don’t know these things. They need to know and understand.”

The club has about 40 members and is always looking for more.

You don’t need to be Latino to join, which is one of the biggest misconceptions about the club, Sanjurjo said.

The Latino Cultural Society hosts dance lessons and movie nights, among other events. Members also volunteer at the Carroll County Soup Kitchen.

Laura Castaneda, who is of Mexican descent, was born in Chicago and grew up in Cobb County.

“A lot of people judge us,” said Castaneda, 19. She graduated from Sequoyah High School in Cherokee County. 

“I just want to spread [knowledge],” Castaneda said. “We’re here. We’ve been here for a long time.”

The poetry reading was part of National Hispanic Heritage month, which runs through Oct. 15.

Hungry for more? Stop by the Office of Institutional Diversity (Row Hall 217; Mon-Fri, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). There is a display, Hispanic facts and DVDs to watch. Enjoy music and treats. For additional information, please call 9-5400.