National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month celebrates Hispanic and Latino American culture and the 18.5% of Americans who share this heritage. The celebration begins each year on September 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The timing of this celebration is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, who celebrate their independence on September 16 and 18, respectively.
Here at Drury University, we will be celebrating our Hispanic and Latino students, faculty, staff, and alumni through personal profiles, radio interviews and through the education and awareness of the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino culture.
Marilyn D. Harris, MS, SHRM-CP
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
This four-part podcast to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in the Missouri Ozarks.
Jazmín Román graduated from Drury in 2013. She’s currently a middle school Spanish teacher at a charter school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a proud mom to a precious four-month-old baby girl.
“I recently read En el tiempo de las Mariposas by Julia Álvarez. Álvarez tells the story of the Mirabal sisters and their struggle for justice in the Dominican Republic during Trujillo’s regime. This heart breaking yet uplifting story shows how important and powerful historical fiction can be.”
Laura Amelia Ramirez graduated from Drury in 2018. She now works as a designer in an architecture firm called Modus Studio. Ramirez is currently working on a couple of school designs for different rural areas of Arkansas.
Ramirez says “Latinx people in general are incredibly expressive and hands on. We receive people with a hug and a kiss in the cheek, regardless of the level of intimacy you have with this person. When you first meet someone a kiss is always offered and received. It’s a way of letting people in, of welcoming them, in a sense, to our circle. But this goes beyond that, you are being welcomed to our personal space as well. When you hug a Latinx person you feel the warmth of the whole country and you feel the heat of the culture.”
Rita Elisa Vega graduated from Drury in 2017. She currently lives near St. Louis with her partner Liam and their kitten Marceline. She says her work life isn’t terribly exciting, but she has been working on a line of crocheted stuffed animals to list on Etsy.
Current events have been weighing on Vega’s mind recently. “My thoughts have been heavy with the racial inequity and injustice that we’ve been experiencing lately. I just really want to encourage white allies to step up and listen to the experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Don’t assume it’s not happening in your community, ask to hear people’s experiences and truly listen. We have to work together to move forward.”