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.

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.