UK Happenings

UK celebrates Latinx Heritage Month

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2022) — Across the United States and Latin America, we celebrate 500 years of Latin American identity, cultures, languages and specifically honor the vast contributions of Latin Americans to the United States.

Since 1968, Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. At the University of Kentucky, our community more commonly refers to the month as "Latinx Heritage Month" to be inclusive of not just Hispanic — or Spanish-speaking nations — but rather the entire Latin American diaspora and all its peoples. It recognizes all countries in North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, the "X" in Latinx symbolizes and reclaims Latin Americans across the gender spectrum, but also honors some of the various indigenous peoples in the Americas, pre- and post-colonialism. Additionally, the X serves as an indicator of gender-fluidity, something challenged due to the gendered nature of the Spanish language. 

The Martin Luther King Center at UK, along with campus and community partners, will host a variety of experiences to celebrate and amplify the richness of Latinx/Hispanic heritage and culture at UK and beyond.

Below is a comprehensive look at Latinx Heritage Month programs happening across campus and the Lexington community:   

Friday, Sept. 16

  • La Carne Asada: Latinx Heritage Month Kickoff | noon at Courtyard of Champions | Hosted by the MLK Center 

  • Eat Around the World Festival | 5 p.m. at Main Lawn | Hosted by the MLK Center 

  • Mexican Independence Festival | 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at  Casa de La Cultura in Lexington | Hosted by the Casa de la Cultura, the Latin American Cultural Center

  • Spanish Mass: Hispanic/Latinx Night | 7:30 p.m. at UK Catholic Newman Center | Hosted by the Newman Center

Monday, Sept. 26 

  • Soup Beans & Spice! Appalachian/Latinx Foodways Workshop | 1 p.m. at Funkhouser Kitchen. Pre-registration required.

  • Short Documentary Film Screening: "The Mountain Fiesta: Bridging the Gap & Building Community in rural Appalachia" | 5 p.m. at Niles Gallery  

Friday Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1 

Monday, Oct. 10   

  • Día de La Raza/Indigenous Peoples’ Day | noon to 1 p.m. | Hosted by the MLK Center 

Friday, Oct. 14  

  • Malinche’s Refusal: New visions for a decolonized Latinidad.”Academic Colloquium | Gabriela Spears-Rico (University of Minnesota, Departments of Chicano & Latino Studies and American Indian Studies) | noon  to 1 p.m at Young Library Auditorium | Hosted by the Departments of Anthropology and Hispanic Studies

  • Melodias de Latinoamerica, a Festival of Songs Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month | 7-8:30 p.m. at the Singletary Center for the Arts, Recital Hall | Hosted by the School of Music 

Many Mountains Fall Festival

UK students will also host the Many Mountains Fall Festival, Sept. 20-Oct. 7, which will celebrate Appalachian and Latinx culture through arts, music, food and dance. The festival is a collaboration between the UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program; the Appalachian Research Community (a registered student organization); the Department of Hispanic Studies; the Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies Program; the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music; and the Mountain Fiesta in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Other partners include the Latino Student Union, Martin Luther King Center, Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension, UK Asian American Association and the UK Bluegrass Ensemble. Read more and see the full event listing here

"I am excited to have designed the Latinx Heritage Month calendar for the second time at UK. This is my second year as an MLK Center graphic design intern and I could not imagine being part of another famlilia on campus,” said Claudia Fernandez Home, a junior art education major who identifies as a Cuban American. “The work we do starts with us uplifting and celebrating each other and our stories."

Fernandez Home elaborates that this year's calendar will highlight the Caribbean, which she also calls home.

"I wanted to highlight the Caribbean and its nations, and in particular, the vast diversity of culture and racial identity rooted in the colonial history of the Caribbean," she said.  

“All are invited to celebrate Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month with campus, the greater-Lexington communities and with their loved ones at home,” said Ruth González Jiménez, Latino student community specialist with the MLK Center. “We hope those who celebrate their heritage every day feel seen, while empowering those who haven’t because of history, to reclaim their cultural heritage. This Latinx Heritage Month will be one to remember. Stay tuned, y Feliz Mes de La Herencia Latina!"

For questions, concerns, or accommodation requests, please contact Ruth González Jiménez at ruth.gonzalez@uky.edu or call 859-257-4130.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.