Friday, October 24, 2014

The Journey of Pursuing your Dreams - A review of the Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

Natalia Orozco
On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Hofstra celebrated Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month with a reception filled with inspiring speeches, introduction to the diversity of dance in Latino/Hispanic culture, and food, including candy from a piñata.

Alicia Anabel Santos
Natalia Orozco, a junior Broadcast Journalism major,  was our M.C. for the event, who shared her experiences growing up as a Latina. She encouraged others who identify as Latino/Hispanic to really celebrate who they are and share their heritage and culture with everyone. A proud Latina, she emphasized how the value of family and being a part of a wider community is a huge part of her identity and her culture.

HOLA teaches participants salsa and bachata
Natalia then introduced playwright Alicia Anabel Santos, this year’s keynote speaker, who works as both writer and co-producer at Creador Pictures and is also founder and CEO of  NYC Latina Writers. The pursuit of one’s dreams in the face of adversity was the overall theme of Alicia’s speech. She emphasized to the students that they are worthy of their dreams, and that they do not need permission or approval to have these dreams and make them a reality. She stressed for students not to sacrifice their happiness in order to not disappoint others who don’t have the same dreams for them. “Your dreams are validated, supported and encouraged,” she stated, “You don’t need to have all the answers today. Dreams shift, evolve and change.” The important thing is to keep moving toward your dreams, and not to give up on them because others say you can’t do it or you shouldn’t do it.

piñata time!
Alicia shared antidotes of her personal journey featured in her book “Finding Your Force: A Journey to Love,” which was also this heritage month’s featured book. She shared both her biggest success moments and also her failures. She encouraged students to face their fears of not being accepted and to strive toward their dreams. She stressed that the successes and the failures are equally important, as they define who we are and all that we are made of.

MISPO handed out MUÑECAS QUITAPENAS - “worry-free dolls”
to students. This popular traditional toy originated in Guatemala

Hofstra Organization of Latin Americans (HOLA) then taught the participants about the diversity of dance in Latin America, including the bachata and salsa. Then, participants had a chance to learn more about the history and culture of the piñata and eventually break it open to get some candy.

Several events throughout October were hosted to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, the theme of which is Legacy of History, Present of Action, and Future of Success.  Share your stories and experiences on social media using the hashtag #HUCultura14.

The next and final event is the celebration of Dia de los Muertos, which will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 7 p.m. in Plaza Rooms East and Middle, Mack Student Center, North Campus. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) originated in Mexico as a celebration of the lives of family and friends who have died. Join HOLA to learn the many traditions associated with this holiday. For more information contact HOLA at

Alicia Anabel Santos with members of HOLA


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