Afro-Latino Fest celebrates cultural intersections

On Wednesday, Oct. 28 and Thursday Oct. 29, multiple clubs on campus including El Centro Latino and the Black Student Union collaboratively hosted the second annual Afro-Latino Fest. Wednesday saw a screening of a film called “Black in Latin America” with a Q&A panel afterwards, and Afro-Cuban dance lessons were held on Thursday, after which was a sampling of Afro-Carribian food.

A large number of clubs got together to sponsor the event, El Centro Latino, BSU, The African Student Association, the International Student Association, Multicultural Services, High School programs and the Latin American Culture Club all were involved.

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According the organizers, the objective of the festival was to generate “exposure to African roots of Latinos” and create also to create awareness of different types of diversity. The organizers were as well looking forward to targeting stereotypes and addressing questions surrounding race and ethnicity.

Wednesday’s film was an episode from a PBS series called “Black in Latin America,” a four-part show “on the influence of African descent on Latin America”, produced by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The episode aired was called “Haiti & the Dominical Republic: An Island Divided” and explored how race played a part in Haitian society. “We covered the Haitian revolution and how it relates to present day. We just try to make people more aware of the different groups of people,” said El Centro Latino Program Coordinator Jorge Torres.

On Thursday, a dance instructor from La Clave Cubana came to show student some Afro-Cuban dance lessons The dance moves were basic and were kept to a speedy beat. Around 200 people participated in the dancing event, and there was about 50 to 75 attendees on the first day, according to David Joseph, the former head coordinator for BC’s Black Student Union.

Torres stated that the event’s objective was “Highlighting the fusion and the mix of African and Latino cultures,” saying that there is “a heavy influence that African culture has in history.”
Joseph said “I think it was very successful for the second year,” and continued, saying that there is another festival planned for next year.