Latin music filled the Ceddia Union Building’s multipurpose room Saturday evening as the Latino Student Organization and Multicultural Student Affairs gathered to dance, eat and listen to rap and words from fellow members about their experiences as people of color living in President Donald Trump’s America.
Hues of purples and blues lit the venue as the DJ mixed Latin tunes and members danced in unison on a makeshift runway created by chairs placed on either side of the room. Shippensburg University students recorded videos on their phones, danced along and tapped their feet while awaiting the next part of the experience — Latin food.
Empanadas, kabobs and chicken were a few of the traditional dishes served to students who ate at close round tables adorned with colorful flowers and balloons in the back of the MPR. As stomachs became full the spoken word and music officially began with Andres Ramos’ prose piece called “self-reflection.”
“They say that it’s their history they claim it all, after they tried to take it all, now 45 is trying to keep the descendants of the people that belong here by trying to build a wall, trying to control the fastest growing population that in a few decades will be half of all,” Ramos declared.
Hoots and hollers could be heard in the crowd as Ramos flowed through his poem. In it he quips about having to learn English as a second language growing up, and the prejudice opinions some people share because of race.
“You can keep your kind words that’s how bulls**t gets coated,” dispersed grunts of agreement could be heard sparingly as Ramos spoke, “in a place where I’m good enough to clean a building but not good enough to own it.”
Ramos’ prose reiterated that it is impertinent to see life as an overall blessing that will ultimately unite us and not divide us.
Another student’s poem called “Where’s the Peace?” talked about the various oppressive context in which race comes into play being a woman of color.
“Consistently explaining my views to my Caucasian counterparts, constant comments sitting in my gut as I lay in bed at night,” the room drew silent lingering on the student’s next word, “’pretty for a dark-skin girl’, ‘smart for your kind’ and just life for ‘him’ is open season for us.”
The student’s poem epitomized what the night was dedicated to which was to not only to understand and embrace different culture but to also listen to those differences.