Southeast to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of activities, incorporating everything from music and art to culture, history and food.

 “Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on and to recognize the many contributions of 18 percent of the U.S. population. Many departments on campus, community organizations and the Student Organization of Latinos are striving to simply bring awareness to the many wonderful facets of U.S. culture and build a sense of community,” said Dr. Debbie Lee-Distefano, professor in the Department of Modern Language, Anthropology, and Geography.

This will also be the third year the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity has coordinated activities and events to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month at Southeast.

“This month-long event is a time to educate our community on the rich, multifaceted history of Latinos and Hispanics,” said Sonia Rucker, director of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

Upcoming events and entertainment include the following:

Sept. 1–Oct. 22: Najjar Abdul-Mussawwir: Reconstructed/Reconceptualized

Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum

The exhibition “Reconstructed” is an investigation of the history of the banjo and its direct link to African string instruments. This investigation led to the creation of sculptural works focusing on material as content and the re-contextualizing of various wood quality and forms.

Sept. 17: Tacos at Twilight, Kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month

5-8 p.m., Capaha Park Pavilion 3
Come to Capaha Park to have some tacos and celebrate the contributions Hispanics have brought to U.S. culture and its economy. Tacos will be served until they are gone.

Sept. 22: “Manzanar, Diverted and A Flicker in Eternity: Looking at Japanese American Incarceration and Manzanar as Intersections of Social Justice Struggle”

3-4:30 p.m., University Center Ballroom

Filmmaker Ann Kaneko explores the legacy of social injustice through the Japanese American incarceration experience. It shows how places like Manzanar, the former World War II Japanese American concentration camp, continue to be important sites of conscience that embody the intersections of social justice history.

Sept. 22: “Forging Multi-ethnic Mexipino Identities and Communities in San Diego”

5-6:30 p.m., University Center Ballroom

Dr. Rudy Guevarra Jr., associate professor of Asian Pacific American Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, explores the historical and contemporary formations of San Diego’s Mexipino communities through a series of narratives and photographs. Guevarra shows how shared experiences of Mexicans and Filipinos, such as Spanish colonialism, racial segregation and community formation, labor and civil rights struggles, and food contributed to the development of this distinct multi-ethnic identity.

Sept. 23: Asians in the Americas Symposium

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., University Center Redhawks Room

The fifth Asians in the Americas Symposium will feature many presentations by scholars whose research focuses on the intersections between Latinos and Asians in the context of the United States.

Sept. 27“Language and Culture as a Pathway to Provide Competent Health Care in the Latino Community Both at Home and Abroad”

Noon to 1 p.m., Kent Library, Sadie’s Place

Alexis Engelhart, a student at Southeast Missouri State University, will give a presentation on how studying Spanish in the context of health care has benefitted her participation in medical brigades in Guatemala as well as her future plans to become a physician. This is an Athenaeum Series presentation.

Oct. 3: Jorge Riopedre, president of Casa de Salud

3-5 p.m., John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center, River CampusRiopedre will present on Casa de Salud and discuss how it has managed to improve health care outcomes in the St. Louis area. Casa de Salud is the premier healthcare resource for the foreign-born community of metropolitan St. Louis, and part of the infrastructure that welcomes people of all origins to this region. The mission of Casa de Salud is to facilitate and deliver high quality clinical and mental health services for uninsured and underinsured patients, focusing on new immigrants and refugees who encounter barriers to accessing other sources of care.

Oct. 6: Music Concert

7-8 p.m., Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum

In conjunction with the Najjar Abdul-Mussawwir: “Reconstructed” exhibition, Southeast faculty and students will perform music inspired by African culture and African instruments, particularly the banjo. Works performed will include pieces by Southeast faculty and students.

Oct. 13: Dance Movements

7-8 p.m., Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum

Inspired by the art works in the exhibition Najjar Abdul-Mussawwir: “Reconstructed,” Southeast dance students will perform a choreography of solo and group dances exploring the musical connection between the banjo and African string instruments.

For more information, visit For a full listing of Hispanic Heritage Month events, visit

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