This November, Ajúa Campos, Wesleyan’s Latinx affinity group, will host a series of events for Latinx Affirmation Month (LAM). The month-long schedule includes six educational and social events centered around Latinx individuals and identity.
“Latinx Affirmation Month seeks to affirm, interrogate, and conceptualize Latinidad at Wesleyan and beyond by bringing a series of talks, discussions, and social events centered around Latinx individuals to our community,” a flyer for the event reads.
The events kick off Sunday, Nov. 4 with the LAM Convocation Dinner at the Daniel Family Commons from 6-8 p.m. with a free, catered dinner. The event will include speeches from Latinx students who are writing theses and a keynote address from Zahira Kelly, an Afro-Dominicana writer, artist, and cultural commentator.
Kelly, often described as a social media personality under the name Bad Dominicana, is an NYC native whose award-winning speeches, writing, and sociocultural critique have drawn international attention. Her work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, BBC, and Time, in which she makes use of indigenous-style storytelling and candid cultural critique of colonialism, power dynamics, and more. She is also renowned for her visual art celebrating women of color, which was recently exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
On Thursday, Nov. 8, Ajúa Campos will hold a student-led Día de Los Muertos Teach-In. This will take place during the regular Ajúa Campos meeting time, 9-10 p.m. in Boger 114. On Saturday, Nov. 10, the group will hold its annual Latinx cultural showcase, Expresiones 2018, from 8-10 p.m. at a to-be-determined location, which will include various performances.
On Thursday, Nov. 15, there will be two events: a POC Pre-Law Panel and a Career Workshop and Head Shot Session. The POC Pre-Law Panel will be held at the Gordon Career Center from 5:30-7:00 p.m., where POC alumni will come to share personal insights and answer questions about the field. The Career Workshop will he held in Boger 114 from 9-10 p.m. and is specifically designed to help students of color navigate the internship and job application process as well as the career resources available at Wesleyan.
Finally, Noche de Gala 2018 will be held in Beckham Hall from 9-11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16. This is Wesleyan’s annual Latinx formal and will include dancing to Latin music, a photo-op with a Latino flag backdrop, and refreshments.
Co-chair of Ajúa Campos Marcelo Salas ’19 spoke to The Argus about why all Wesleyan students should participate in LAM this year.
“Although LAM is focused on centering the experiences of Latinx individuals at Wesleyan and beyond, all of our events are open to the campus-wide community,” he wrote in an email to The Argus. “Some of our events are more intimate and socially-oriented, but we also have educational events that provide members of the Wesleyan community with striking glimpses into Latinidad. Ajúa Campos seeks to create educational spaces that are meaningful for Latinx students, but we find that these events are beneficial to non-Latinx students who are also invested in supporting our community.”
Salas, whose recent work chairing Ajúa Campos included a rally in support of Nelson Pinos, a New Haven resident currently taking refuge from federal immigration officials in a church, continued to describe the valuable nature of the LAM events.
“Convocation, which takes place on November fourth, is headlined by Afro-Dominicana visual artist, columnist, and cultural commentator Zahira Kelly,” he wrote. “A lot of her art and written work attends to the visual representation of women of color, through which she places an emphasis on their intrinsic beauty. I believe folks would benefit from hearing her speak, whether they personally resonate with the themes or want to examine their own conceptions of Latinidad.”
Salas had a hard time choosing the LAM event he is most excited for.
“It’s difficult to single out a single event,” he wrote.“Convocation is always important because we unveil the complete calendar for the month. I also recommend that folks attend Expresiones, the Latinx cultural showcase, because the performers are all pouring energy into foregrounding their singular experiences and talents. This is a great way to get a sense of all the talents and perspectives students bring to Wesleyan’s Latinx community.”
Meredith Olin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.