by Gabby S. ’23 and Dani G. ’22, LATISPA leaders
This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month assembly focused on painting a picture of what it means to be Hispanic/Latine at Lakeside and the aspects of our culture that we are most proud of. The assembly started off with a short video with statistics of the Latine population at Lakeside and in the greater Seattle area. Additionally, the video featured interviews from multiple Hispanic and Latine-identifying students and faculty who shared different aspects of their identity and what being Hispanic or Latine means to them. Members of LATISPA, Lakeside's Latine-Hispanic affinity group, then took turns presenting a slideshow of different Hispanic and Latine role models to illustrate the impact Latine people have throughout different communities. The assembly finished with a cultural showcase, as students shared their culture and experiences through reading poems and presenting cultural clothing. The purpose of our assembly was to celebrate and demonstrate the strength of the Hispanic and Latine community, though our numbers are small, and provide insight about our experiences and cultures to the Lakeside community.
This is only the second year LATISPA has organized an assembly for Hispanic Heritage Month. And, with this being our first year putting on the assembly in person, this opportunity was especially significant to us. As we shared in our opening video with the “LATISPA by the Numbers'' segment, Hispanic and Latine students only make up 4% of the student body. Therefore, at the heart of LATISPA’s mission is to use our affinity space and events to both unite and amplify Hispanic and Latine voices in the Lakeside community. We do not want to focus on the fact that we are underrepresented; rather, we want to emphasize what we represent. Members of LATISPA and the greater Hispanic/Latine community at Lakeside come from a plethora of backgrounds, speak a variety of languages, and each have a unique perspective. We embodied this diversity in our assembly by highlighting the beauty of our cultural differences, whether we were sharing the charming “Marinera” dance of Peru or the traditional clothing worn in the Basque Country of Spain.
Equally, we wanted to use this assembly as a platform to speak frankly about some of the challenges we have faced. In the interviews in the opening video, students and faculty alike shared stories of feeling out of place within the Hispanic/Latine community or having others make assumptions about their identity. In the poems shared, we heard poignant narratives of finding a balance between racial and ethnic identity, and the struggles of constantly being labeled and put into boxes. The Hispanic and Latine experience is very complex, but that is precisely what connects us despite our differences.
At the end of the interview segment of the opening video, we asked our interviewees to share what being Hispanic/Latine meant to them in a word. The words shared, ranging from “family” to “colorful” and “legacy,” beautifully demonstrate what brings the Hispanic and Latine community together. The positive reception of our assembly makes us hopeful that this will become a tradition for many years to come, and that our community will continue to leave a lasting legacy at Lakeside.