Alianza Latinx kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month with flag raising ceremony

Allie O'Connor, Assistant Culture Editor

Latin music echoed across the Davis Center circle as a group of students and staff danced and chatted.

Alianza Latinx, an identity group for Latinx and Hispanic students, held a flag-raising event outside the Davis Center Sept. 13. 

In total, over forty students and faculty members gathered in the sun to celebrate the kickoff of Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

According to first-year Cristina Leiva, who first addressed the crowd, the flag-raising tradition began in 2017 at the request of then-president and current Student Advisor Amanda Martinez. 

Before the flag was raised, members of the Alianza Latinx Executive Board, as well as students, staff, and faculty gathered to take pictures with the flag.

The flag itself displays the flags from different Latin American countries. Many students also had their own flags to show support for the month-long celebration.

Junior Jaylyn Chalco, president of Alianza, raised the flag as the crowd clapped and cheered.

Afterward, several Alianza Latinx members addressed the crowd, including the club’s vice president and sophomore Adrian Pastor, secretary and sophomore Amanda Martinex, publicist and junior Giovanna Rodriguez, historian and sophomore Janeice Mena and first year L.J. Nunez.

“As a community we are strong. We are small but strong, and we’re going to continue to grow with every incoming class,” Pastor said. 

Chalco ended the event by thanking the attendees and reflecting on her upbringing.

“Hispanic heritage is my lifeline. I grew up with a lot of women in my family, so when I think of heritage I think of all the women that came before me,” Chalco said.

Valeria Pinzon-Mendez, an employee of the Mosaic center, said that the flag-raising event was important to her as it displays to the community that the Hispanic and Latinx community on campus that they are seen. 

Junior Macarena Pelaez Salinas echoed this sentiment. “It’s hard to find people that look like you and clubs that represent you on this campus, so to have UVM Alianza Latinx here and to have that kind of representation on campus is really important,” Salinas said. 

According to Salinas, just having the flag raised reminds her of where she came from. 

“Because we are a minority on campus, it’s important that individuals who identify as Latinx feel as though they have a community where they belong and they can belong,” junior Giovanna Rodriguez, Alianza Latinx’s publicist, said.

According to Rodriguez, the club was really happy with how the event went, and hope that in the following years the event only gets bigger and better. 

“We really want to become a stronger presence on campus,” Rodriguez said.