Latinx Club revamps its emphasis
By Jacqueline Robinson - Staff Reporter
Raising the profile and empowering students of Central and South American heritage is the goal of the new Latinx Club and with the new organization comes a call for new way of referring to those students.
Geneva Alfonso-Mendez, who started the Latinx Club this quarter, wants to create a sense of community and inclusion for her fellow Latino and Latina students. Hence,the Name change.
"Latinx is basically a gender neutral name for Latino," she said. "You don't have to specify between Latino which is male, or Latina which is female."
The idea for a name change was the original club president's vision said Alfonso-Mendez.
"Richie [Piñon-Garcia] originally had the idea to be more inclusive," she said. "The word Latinx includes male and female and those who do not identify with any gender.
The inclusive term has inspired other organizations on campus. For example, the annual Highline Latino Summit has been renamed the Latinx Summit, she said.
Because of a recently cut Latino program Alfonso-Mendez said that there is a huge need for a club like this.
"There was something called the Lache Building [Latino Center for Higher Education], but the program was cut this past summer," she said.
The ending of the program was sudden and Alfonso-Mendez said its exit left Latinx students in a quandary.
"The reason that was given to us [as for] why the program was cut was institutional reorganization. There was also a Lache Club but it disappeared along with the program," she said.
But there is a bigger reason the Latinx Club was created.
"A lot of Latinx families don't understand the importance of continuing on with higher education and how an education can affect our lives," Alfonso-Mendez said. "The role of this club is to create that family support."
People who understand your goals work with you, she said.
"People striving for the same thing want to motivate you, they want to see you stay in school, and graduate," she said. "They want you to be successful together."
People need support from people who understand them she said.
"There needs to be a club geared toward every culture," said Alfonso-Mendez. "Every culture has their own needs, beliefs and traditions. Meeting other people on campus that believe in those, and want to graduate as well, is empowering and motivating."
Alfonso-Mendez has some specific goals for the club.
"We want the Latinx population to be known and we want to impact the school," she said. "We want to learn more and share about the Latinx culture. We also want to connect with the Latinx community on and off campus."
Education and history will be a big part of the club, Alfonso-Mendez said.
"We want to educate ourselves about the different Latinx cultures, not just things like Mexican culture. Laxinx is a broad mix of cultures, we want to dig deeper into them and share that with the school."
Planning has been what most of the group's meetings are about, she said.
"This is our first quarter doing the club. So far it has been a lot of planning and organizing. We just set up our council and leadership roles," Alfonso-Mendez said. "This quarter is almost over, but we are doing planning for future quarters."
Next quarter the Latinx Club will host several events, she said.
"Next quarter we are hopefully planning a Winter Social. It's going to be like a dance," Alfonso-Mendez said.
Education will be a priority, she said.
"We plan on doing study groups and connecting each other to scholarships and educational resources," Alfonso-Mendez said. "It's about preparing students for the next step in furthering their education."
Building support will be a key objective, she said.
"I won't always have the answers but we can link up and help each other figure anything out," said Alfonso-Mendez. "The club will help with networking."
Everyone is welcome to the Latinx Club, she said.
"It is not just for Latinx students. Anyone is welcome to the club," she said. "It's for anyone interested."
The club meets every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Building 21, room 202. Currently they have about 20 students involved.
"You can come to any meeting. Next Wednesday on Dec. 7 we are having a potluck," Alfonso-Mendez said. "Everyone is welcome to come, you can bring a cultural food if you want."
If anyone has questions about joining the club the president said emails can be addressed to her at email@example.com