Broward College Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Leonardo LopezStaff Writer

With Broward College officially having kicked off its annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on Sept. 15, several events have been announced to take place throughout the duration of the cultural period.

As Hispanic American Month spans through Oct. 15, it is important to note that October also observes Italian History Month. Domenica Diraviam, Senior Instructional Designer for blended courses as well as adjunct faculty of French and Italian, will be collaborating with Dr. Sammy Rastagh, BC Sociology professor, in hosting a presentation named “Songs of Freedom.”

“This year for Italian American and Hispanic Heritage Month, we decided to approach the topic of music as part of the immigrant experience. I am looking at it from a historical lens through the folk music that accompanied Italian immigrants during the Great Migration and how it evolved in subsequent generations. Dr. Rastagh is elaborating on the social component and examining the modern implications through Latin American music,” Diraviam said. This event will be held virtually on Sept. 30.

That same day, Elisa Albo, Associate Professor of English and English as a Second Language professor at Broward College is presenting her friend Caridad Moro-Gronlier, who is a Miami poet, teacher, friend and anthology co-editor of Albo.

During this Zoom event, Moro-Gronlier will read her new collection of poems, and together they will discuss them through the lens of the event’s subtitle, “Confronting Homophobia in the Diaspora;” posing questions as what it is like to come out to oneself and their families within the Cuban culture.

“My hope is that attendees will be inspired to read her work, write their own stories and feel supported in their individual identity journeys. They’ll also enjoy it. We’ll have a Q & A session at the end and may even do a little writing if there’s time, which I’m sure will be engaging,” Albo said.

Lauren Adamo, Director of Student Life at the Central Campus since last November, will hold a virtual seminar on Oct. 5 entitled “Afro Latino: When Cultures Collide.”

“[During the meeting,] We will establish some common definitions for terms [such as Hispanic, Latino, Afro Latino, etc.] and then show parts of a YouTube video of young adults having a conversation about the relationship between the Black and Latin American communities. We will also allow for attendees to weigh in on their experiences and opinions on what they have seen and experienced related to these topics,” Adamo said.

On Oct. 7, Stephen Balkaran, Civil Rights Project Coordinator of Central Connecticut State University and adjunct Political Science professor of Broward Central Campus, will be presenting another seminar.

Discussing his book: “Before We Were Called Hispanics,” the speech will cover the socioeconomic, political and historical presence and contributions of Latin Americans in this country; tracing its background in early American History.

“I hope that attendees will gain knowledge and empowerment with this discussion. I believe true history needs to reflect everyone in a positive way. [In my 22 years of reading American History and American Politics textbooks as a professor, I have rarely seen as many people of color]. I want students to leave with a bigger understanding of our true history as a whole,” Balkaran said.

Additionally, Adamo and the Student Life team at Central Campus will be hosting the “Vamos a Tomar un Café” event that will take place on Oct. 13 in the Building 9 patio of the Central Campus.

“My students wanted to have a simple coffee event where general students could relax and connect, so we hired a coffee cart service for the day. They also wanted them to be able to design their own coffee mug so they had a takeaway from the event… We wanted to add a fun element for Hispanic Heritage Month so we will be adding some common Spanish expressions with their origin for students to familiarize themselves with, and possibly even decorate on their keepsake mug,” said Adamo.

Finally, there will be an 8 p.m. screening of Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award winning feature, “Coco” in the South Campus lake area on Oct. 15, the final evening of the celebration. With its Mexican setting and its inspiration from The Day of the Dead, the animated film honors the rich culture of the Latin American country.

For information on what time these events will he held, see the Broward College event calendar website at

Photo Courtesy: Learn Spanish Online