UK Happenings

UK Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo by: Vitalii Abakumov, iStock/Getty Images Plus

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2020) — The University of Kentucky is commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month, observed Sept. 15-Oct. 15, with a series of events for students, faculty and staff.

Ruth González Jiménez, Latino student community specialist in the UK Martin Luther King Center, says the events will be informative and healing for some, and educational and enlightening for others.

“I am so excited and honored to work with fellow Latinx faculty and staff, as well as our brilliant Latinx students, to put together another month of events dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating Latin American contributions and culture,” González Jiménez said. “From serving a less-than 1% population of Latino/Hispanic students in 2012, to having a roughly a 5% population (on campus) today, I feel like using Dr. King’s guiding philosophy: we are one step closer to making UK a home para todos los Latinos — for all Latinos.”

The MLK Center and the College of Arts and Sciences are working together to offer opportunities for the campus community to engage and learn about Latino/Hispanic identities and the Latin American diaspora’s diverse cultures and people. All events will be held on Zoom, so all can participate safely.

The events include:

Latinx Diaspora Dialogue Series featuring Dr. Cristobal Salinas 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, on Zoom

Explore the intersections of the Latinx identity through a conversation with internationally acclaimed Florida Atlantic University Professor Cristobal Salinas. Sponsored by the Office of Student Organizations and Activities in partnership with the Department of Hispanic Studies and the MLK Center. Sign in and register here.

Annual Carne Asada Cookout (virtual edition) 5-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, on Zoom

Prepare your favorite Latinx inspired dish and join a discussion in celebration of Latinx culture through food. Drop in to show off what you’re eating or share your favorite dish from home. Sign in and register here.

"Immigration, Art, and China Latina Identity" with Fabiana Chiu 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, on Zoom

In partnership with the Confucius Institute’s Virtual Speaker Series, the College of Arts and Sciences will host Fabiana Chiu, an arts administrator and cultural worker in New York City. Chiu will give a talk and answer questions on how art intersects with her identities as a Latina of Chinese descent in the U.S. Register here.

Discussion of Latinx Faculty and Staff Needs and Support Systems at UK in Times of Pandemic 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, on Zoom

Sponsored by the Latinx Affinity Group for UK Employees. Contact Latinx Affinity Group co-chairs Cristina Alcalde or Ruth González Jiménez to register.

Latino Student Union Meeting  6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Jacobs Science Building Room 121 or Zoom

Indigenous People’s Day Oct. 12  Observation via MLK Center social media.

Latin American and Latinx Student Perspectives on Race and Equity: A Student-Centered Dialogue Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, on Zoom The College of Arts and Sciences’ “Passport to the World” program, in collaboration with the MLK Center, will offer a panel on Latinx and Latin American student experiences at UK, featuring student leaders from Latinx organizations. Register here.

Ongoing events:

Tarea Tuesdays (Homework Tuesdays) 3 p.m. every Tuesday on Zoom 

A time for Latinx students to connect to community. “Drop in” at 3 p.m. every Tuesday. Sign in and register here.

#LatinxLunes (Latino Monday) Every third Monday

Showcase an aspect of your heritage, culture, etc., on social media tagging @UK_MLKCenter and share with us what part of your “Latinidad” you’re proud of. 

“What Latinx Heritage Month means to the MLK Center, is not only about recognizing the complex and intricate culture of the Latinx community, but also welcoming those who are unfamiliar with the culture,” said Alessandro Chuquichanca, student office manager and programming intern with the MLK Center. “We hope that through our events, we can facilitate an environment that encourages growth and riveting interactions between students, staff and visitors from all walks of life. Beyond that, the MLK Center is always pursuing the vision of empowering all our students, recognizing their backgrounds and beginnings, and committing their lives to improving the world around them through inclusion and diversity.” 

For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month events, contact González Jiménez at The campus community can further connect to the MLK Center by joining the weekly email listserv or following on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

About Latinx Studies at UK

In recognition of the significance and importance of Latinx contributions to society, and of the growing Latinx student population, the university has intentionally worked to increase course offerings related to Latinx studies. Last year, a Latinx cluster hire initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences resulted in two Latinx Studies faculty hires — in history and Hispanic studies. As Latinx studies grows, the college’s interdisciplinary Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies program (open to faculty across colleges) has also become stronger.

“With Latinxs making up 18% of the U.S. population and coming from such a broad range of backgrounds and histories, there is a lot we can still do to recognize, learn about, and engage with Latinx histories and experiences,” said Cristina Alcalde, associate dean of inclusion and internationalization in the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about Latinx studies at UK, contact Alcalde at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.