By Marianeli De Leon
For The Diamondback

Wednesday marks the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month and a return to in-person celebrations for the Latinx community at this university.

The Coalition of Latinx Student Organizations, an umbrella organization for all Latinx clubs, kicked off this year’s celebration with a cookout at the Nyumburu Cultural Center on Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and hype around these events, especially for the opening event. For sure, it’ll be a great time, a great month, a time to celebrate and unite all the Latinx orgs,”said Mauricio Ortiz-Tapia, president of CLSO and a junior supply chain management major. “Latinx Heritage Month is a time to unite all these organizations, come together, collaborate, co-sponsor one another’s events.”

The theme of this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month is “Celebrar, Educar y Dar” which means celebrate, educate and give.

“We like those concepts of celebration because that’s what the month is about,” Ortiz-Tapia said. “[To] educate one another on whatever concepts or themes motivate us and to give back to our neighbors, to give back to our classmates, the campus community, and the community around us.”

Throughout the month, various Latinx organizations will host different events based on different aspects of this year’s theme. Edwin Ramirez, vice president of CLSO and a senior kinesiology major, described how the La Unidad Latina Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. will host a variety of events, such as internship Q&As, throughout the month.

“With that being said, with all of our programs this semester, we kind of try to tie in and meet those goals, giving back to the community and also providing access to higher education for Latino and minority students,” Ramirez said.

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Natalia Herrera, who serves as the secretary and historian of CLSO and is also a part of the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. said the sorority is holding events that support their members academically and focus on community.

“We also are going to be hosting a series of events the first week of October so it is still a part of Latin Heritage month and there will be a few events about women empowerment and also how to defend yourself in times of need, things along those lines,” said Herrera, a sophomore psychology and public policy major.

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While the leadership of CLSO represents a diverse group that consists of a mixture of Brazilian, Bolivian, Cuban, Salvadorian, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Peruvian nationalities, they say anyone can celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

“This is most definitely your place. I mean they’re a part of the UMD community, you know, they’re with us in the classrooms as well,” Ortiz-Tapia said. “As long as they’re with us supporting the cause and celebrating with us, why not?”