The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Adelante! holds Latin@ Week on media representation

Editor’s Note: The @ symbol is used in the terms Latin@ and Chican@ to include all gender identities within those communities.

Last week, Adelante! held their annual Latin@ Week, with the theme of “Create Your Own Media.” Adelante! is a student organization on campus that works to increase awareness and appreciation of U.S. Latin@, Chican@ and Latin American culture, politics and society.

Adelante! co-chair Isabel Acero-Velazquez ’18 said that the org decided on the theme of media last year when Donald Trump and his comments about Latin@s were getting attention, and also when their org was becoming aware of a lack of Latin@s both at Macalester and in the media.

The week started off with the screening of the documentary “Latinos Beyond Reel” and a panel of Macalester students sharing their experiences as Latin@s in the U.S. In the documentary, filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun explore how Latino@s are and are not portrayed in US news and entertainment media.

Vivian Liu ’17, who attended the event, that she enjoyed it, and thought that the segments of the movie where children reacted to and talked about Latin@s in the media was especially impactful. Liu said she also appreciated hearing students on the panel share their stories.

“I think the panel was very good,” Liu said. “The panelists were very focused on sharing their own stories, which in my opinion is one of the solutions for the problem of media misrepresentation. It was fascinating to hear the panelists share experiences they had that were similar to what was shown in the movie, as well as experiences that were different.”

Continuing with the idea of students representing themselves and their stories, there was an art kick-off on Wednesday, Feb. 24, where participants created collages from magazines.

Adán Martínez ’16, who is a past co-chair of Adelante!, said that he came to the collage event to destress and to explore representation, something he has seen around him but not reflected on. He said that portrayals in the media of Latino men as “Latin lovers” or other stereotypical roles are “really upsetting.” Echoing Liu’s comments, he added that the event was an opportunity for him to represent himself through more positive images.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Adelante! held a poetry slam featuring the Latino poet and artist See More Perspective, who is based in Minneapolis. He performed poetry with beats in the background, and spoke about his identity as a Latino. The other poet in the slam was Jonathan Amezquita ’18, who spoke about Latino male identity in the U.S.

Similar to the movie screening earlier in the week, there seemed to be a smaller audience than expected at the poetry slam. However, Anna Fineanganofo ’18 said that she preferred it that way.

“Since it was a small crowd, See More talked a lot instead of doing a lot of poetry; he talked a lot about being Latino and dealing with that in white — predominantly white — spaces,” Fineanganofo said. “He interacted with the audience, so he would ask people to tell him their thoughts on his piece or what he was saying.”

The last event of the week was the Variety Show, which took place on Saturday night in Kagin Ballroom. The show featured performances by both Adelante! members and guest groups, such as Bad Comedy, Team Asia and Bodacious. The show started off with a video critiquing stereotypes about Latin@s, created by two Adelante! members, and there was also a video about portrayals of Latin@s in the media, created by Erica Arriaga-Gomez ’18, Adelante! co-chair.

Eloá Franca Verona ’18, who attended the Variety Show, said that “They were interesting to see that [the videos] was really their perspective; it was really videos that they made themselves, not some video that they found on the internet,” said Eloá Franca Verona’18, who attended the Variety Show. “It’s really nice to see the perspective of Mac students, people that you know, around these topics that are really important to them.”

In general, Acero-Velazquez said that Adelante! wanted the campus community “to be aware that the Latin@ identity is very diverse … and keep in mind also that while you might not think about it, these stereotypes are very much true and are in the minds of a lot of different people. Yes, maybe not a lot of people on campus believe what Trump says about Mexicans, but a good amount of the country does. Be aware that that’s still a thing, and it’s very much affecting us.”

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