Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at IWU

September 15, 2006  

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month starting Friday, Sept. 15, and continuing through the month of October by hosting a variety of activities.

All events during the celebration are free and open to the public.

The national Hispanic Heritage Month formally begins on Sept. 15, which marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries--Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Additionally, Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Chile on Sept. 18.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau, over 35 million people in the United States are Hispanic or Latino. The month is a time to celebrate those who identify themselves as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish as well as to celebrate the independence of their native countries.

Following are some events that will take place on the IWU campus in celebration of the event:

Saturday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m., the Council For Latin American Student Enrichment (CLASE) will host the movie "A Day Without a Mexican" in the Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher St., Bloomington). The movie explores the question: what would happen if one morning California woke up to find that one third of its population, the Hispanic population, had disappeared?

Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m., Teatro Milagro of the Miracle Theatre will perform "Mi Vida Gitana" in the Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington).  Combining a romantic tale with current global issues and the Spanish language, the Portland-based touring theatre company will tell the story of two orphans who make a pact to stay together despite their disapproving families. Using drama, Teatro Milagro will try to share the diversity of the Hispanic heritage and advocate for global unity.

CLASE will display Latino art in the Memorial Center (109 E. University St., Bloomington) on Sept. 22-29.

Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m., CLASE will host the annual Nuyorican Poets Cafe  in the Beckman Auditorium in The Ames Library (1 Ames Plaza, Bloomington).  A Nuyorican, by definition, is a person of Puerto Rican descent living in New York City.  Founded circa 1973 in the East Village in New York City, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe began as a way for Nuyoricans to share their poetry, which discussed key issues such as poverty, race and identity.  The original Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York has emerged as one of the country's most highly respected art organizations, giving emerging artists who are traditionally under-represented in the media a multi-cultural venue to exhibit their work.

For a listing of additional events, please see the University Calendar or contact Damaris Ortiz, president of CLASE, at or Nicole Brown-Davis, interim director of Multicultural Affairs, at

  Contact: Taylar Kuzniar, (309) 556-3181