Latinas celebrate heritage

by Monica Linzmeier

Antonio Zaragoza, Editor in Chief

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month which starts Sept. 15 every year, the San Diego State Latina Network hosted the fourth annual Latina Aztec Power Lunch for students, faculty and supporters on Sept. 27 at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

Attendees included SDSU President Elliot Hirshman’s wife, members of Alpha Pi Sigma sorority and other supportive affiliates.

Psychology senior Claudia Santana was one of the Latina students invited to attend the lunch.

“They empower us and motivate us into building a network and better future,” Santana said of the SDSU Latina Network. “I think it’s a great opportunity just to meet important people and key members of the Latina network.”

Both the network and the luncheon have grown significantly since their creation four years ago. The SDSU Latina Network began with two faculty members, including chair of the board, Lorena Malo, and has since grown into a committee of 15 individuals. Its luncheon sponsors have grown to include two off-campus sponsors in addition to those on campus.

Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership and event coordinator Yvonne Hernandez welcomed guests and said the lunch, “brings together the Latina community as far as faculty and students here at SDSU and to raise money for scholarships.”

Hernandez was followed by keynote speaker for the event Norma L. Hernandez, the governing board president of the Southwestern Community College District, who spoke about growing up as a Latina in California and pursuing education to better herself for her children.

Hernandez’s 20-minute speech concluded with a call to action for the affiliates at the lunch to continue reaching out to the Latina community and to help the growing Latino student population.

“Last year for the very first time, more Latino students than white students applied to the CSU system’s 23 campuses,” Hernandez said.

The luncheon had silent auction tables with various items, such as massage gift cards and handmade traditional Latino artwork. The proceeds helped raise money for the scholarships given by the SDSU Latina Network Board.

Hernandez said the Board hopes to continue providing scholarships similar to the $1,000 it awarded in the past two years.