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Celebrating Hispanic and Latino Culture and Heritage

Schedule of Events >>

latino hispanic heritage at west chester university
Mural painted by Latino high school students, Nueva Esperanza Academy, Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia. Photo by Linda Stevenson.
Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month at WCU provides a variety of opportunities, from academic to entertaining, for the West Chester campus and local community to learn more about and enjoy the richness of Hispanic and Latino culture. This year’s special events span most of the academic year.

Hispanic Heritage Month was designated by the U.S. government as beginning Sept. 15 – chosen because of the Independence Days celebrated by a number of Latin American countries between Sept. 15 and Sept. 18 – through Oct. 15. The conclusion of the month is close to Columbus Day, Oct. 12, which marked the beginning of a new era in the western hemisphere with the arrival of Christopher Columbus and his crew.

WCU’s events begin with a lecture on Monday, Sept. 20, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Main Hall Auditorium (Room 168) addressing “Why Are Anti-Immigration Laws a ‘Women’s Issue’?” Susan Kim from the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC) joins WCU political scientist Linda Stevenson for the discussion, which is sponsored by the WCU Women’s Center, Latin American Studies, WCU Latino Heritage Committee, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Contact Jennifer Halligan for more information:

Then kick it up a notch with the Latin Dance and Concert featuring Los Sonora Fantasticos and the WCU Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Marc Jacoby, on Saturday, Sept. 25.  Sonora Los Fantasticos are a salsa band dedicated to the perfect execution of traditional “salsa dura.” This band is deeply rooted in the development of the image, culture and prestige of this classical afro-Caribbean art. The event begins at 8 p.m. in Sykes Student Union Ballrooms. Contact Marc Jacoby for more information:

On Sunday, Sept. 26, reserve a seat on the bus heading to Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican Day Parade along Ben Franklin Parkway. The bus departs WCU at 10 a.m. and leaves Philadelphia at 3 p.m. Reservations: Stephanie Reid at

Latina poet Magdalena Gómez, co-founder and artistic director of Teatro V!da, comes to campus on Wednesday, Oct. 13, for a special theatrical performance. An internationally acclaimed teaching artist, performer, poet, lyricist, columnist and playwright, she is an NEA American Master Artist, 2010-2011. Gómez has facilitated arts training, arts integration residencies and professional development for educators and students in countless schools throughout the country. The program is co-sponsored by WCU Latino Heritage Committee, Department of Languages and Cultures, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Social Equity, LASO, Women’s and Gender Studies. Her performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in Sykes Student Union Theatre. Contact Stacey Schlau for more information:

Next, take an armchair trip to Cuba with the University’s Travel Adventures film/lecture series. Filmmaker Marlin Darrah will be on hand on Monday, Oct. 25, and Tuesday, Oct. 26, to narrate “Cuba: A Road Trip from Havana to Santiago de Cuba.” On Tuesday, a pre-program theme dinner is available by advance reservation and additional payment. The program begins at 7 p.m. each evening in Sykes Student Union Theater; tickets are $8. Contact or 610-696-2282.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, meet Adrian Martinez and other artists for the opening of their show “Fall Latino Artist Exhibit: Paint, Paper, Clay, Wax, Wood and Poetry of Craftsmanship,” Based in Downingtown, Pa., Martinez is nationally known as a painter whose work includes portraits, still lifes, landscapes and historical paintings. The artists’ reception lasts from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibit runs through Friday, Dec. 17, in McKinney Gallery, Mitchell Hall. 610-436-2755.

In the spring, an art exhibit entitled “Marcadas” by Latina artist Michelle Ortiz ensures continuity; it runs Feb. 2 through March 11. The celebration concludes with a Latino Social Issues Conference, details of which were still being finalized.

An outline of the schedule is available here, or contact Linda Stevenson for more information:  610-436-3162, .