Olmeca on stage at the Mesa Performing Arts Center on Oct.5, 2023. (Photo by Kat Carlson)

Mesa Community College celebrates Latinx Heritage Month

Student Life at Mesa Community College held an event in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month on Oct. 5 at the Mesa Performing Arts Center to bring awareness to the challenges that Latinx individuals face in the United States.

The event, which opened with messages from student service specialist Erick Tanchez Jr. and members of M.E.Ch.A, a U.S. based organization that works to promote Chicano unity and empowerment, welcomed Olmeca as their speaker for the evening.

“The office of Student Life and Leadership at Mesa Community College is proud to welcome students and community members to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month,” said Tanchez Jr. “This academic presentation delves into the historical, social, and political dimensions that have shaped the emergence and development of the Latinx identity in the United States and beyond.”

Olmeca is a Multidisciplinary Artist, Creative Director, activist, and Educator. He is currently part of the faculty at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and he was recently a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow and a finalist for the position of Nevada Poet Laureate. His work as an activist and educator focuses on the Latinx community.

Olmeca opened with a poem that he wrote, and then began with his lecture on Latinx identity and power. The main focus of his presentation was to examine the challenges and issues faced by Latinx individuals in the United States.

Olmeca began by going over some terms that those who attended may not know, such as the meanings of Latino/Latina, and then delved into a number of statistics including what percent of the United States population is of Latinx heritage.

From there, Olmeca moved into speaking about different power dynamics within the United States, including the economic and political power that Latinx citizens hold. He also spoke immensely about immigration reform and the “newcomer complex”.

While the presentation dealt with a few technical difficulties at this point in the lecture, Olmeca freestyled a couple of his songs for the audience while the issues were being resolved.

After Olmeca’s presentation had concluded, he allowed time for a Q&A session. 

Members of the audience were given the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with Olmeca about topics they were interested in, and had the chance to hear his thoughts from a personal and academic standpoint.

To wrap up the evening, Olmeca performed another handful of his songs for the audience, and gave his gratitude to Student Life for hosting the event.

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