Week aims to showcase Latin American culture

UK students can get a taste of Latin culture on campus with a variety of events starting Monday during Latino Week.

Organized by the Latino American Student Organization, Latino Week will kick off Monday at 11 a.m. in front of the Patterson Office Tower.

Organizers will hand out free food, information about the Latino American student group and fliers for free events promoting Latino American culture during the week.

Multiple speakers will discuss Latin American democracy and riots, such as the Tlatelolco Massacre, in a lecture at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Main Building.

Wednesday will feature a capoeira performance in the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center at 11:30 a.m.

Students can meet at 9 p.m. at the Student Center for a night of bowling off-campus, and the film “Motorcycle Diaries” will be shown Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center’s Worsham Theatre.

On Saturday, students can enjoy a Latino-urban inspired fashion show at 7 p.m. in the Cats Den.

Student Government and Diversity Engagement are sponsoring the events this year. UK has hosted Latino week in previous years, but this is the first time the student Latino group has been involved in the organization.

Zulema Hernandez, president of the Latino American Student Organization, said the group decided to host Latino Week to let students know about the organization and build interest in it.

“We want to promote Hispanic culture within the University of Kentucky, and this is a way to promote diversity within UK’s campus,” said Hernandez, a marketing and merchandising apparel and textiles senior.

Mahjabeen Rafiuddin, director of UK student diversity engagement and one of the advisers for the Latino American student group, said UK needs to celebrate Latin American culture and Latinos on campus, and this week is one way to make an impact.

Making face-to-face contact with students who don’t know much about Latin American culture will help educate students about the world, she said.

“I’m trying to increase visibility of Latino students on campus,” she said.

Latino week was inspired by the success of Africa week, Rafiuddin said.

“Now it’s time to shine some light in their corner and support their culture,” she said. “Latino week makes a statement that they are here and we see them.”