Hispanic community to celebrate their heritage despite harrowing times

Staff Writer

Aside from the coming of the fall season and the start of school, there is another reason for excitement this month on Marshall’s campus.

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, students and Huntington residents will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Mexican-born writer and researcher Pilar Melero will  be coming to speak at Marshall Sept. 21 in Drinko Library 402  to discuss the culture and issues facing Hispanic individuals today.

Associate vice president for information technology, libraries and online learning, Monica Garcia Brooks is of Latino descent and said she values opportunities, like Melero’s talk, that provide students with a chance to gain a better understanding of Hispanics’ lives in the United States.

Brooks said she enjoys when she is able to relate her own experiences in West Virginia to students as well.

“I have experienced discrimination, but at the same time, I have also experienced some wonderful, curious people who embraced the culture and sincerely want to learn more about it,” Brooks said.

“That’s what makes me happy about sharing. They might not have met people from other cultures. I feel a slight sense of mission to share, to enlighten and hopefully to educate.”

As for the national challenges facing Hispanic citizens, the issues surrounding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation have swept headlines for the past week and, thus, have worried many minds of what may occur if DACA is eliminated.

DACA has protected children of immigrants from all across the globe from deportation since 2012, but it was rescinded this month by President Donald Trump.

“That’s going to be a tragedy if we send people back, because, just like us, they grew up in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and they’re in their 20s and 30s,” Brooks said. “If dropped in Mexico, they would have a hard time, because that’s not the culture they grew up in.”