by Caitlyn Starkey
Whitworth kicked off celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by showing the documentary “Latina Confessions.” The month-long celebration started Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15. Senior Marisol Rosado, ASWU cultural events coordinator, explained that multiple Latin American countries gained independence on and around Sept. 15. Thus the celebration of heritage is considered to be best represented by starting partway through a traditional month, Rosado said.
The documentary was filmed by Skyline Features. They are a division of Skyline Community, an organization focused on the empowerment of Blacks and Latinos, along with other minority groups. Skyline Community was founded by Louis Perego Moreno in the 1990s.
“He is super down-to-earth and loves to speak to students,” Rosado said.
Since its founding Skyline Community has branched out to making documentaries. They are produced by teenagers. The teenagers recieve guidance from Perego Moreno.
Perego Moreno didn’t want the films to be discounted on account of quality so he provided a cameraman and film editor, he said. The students acted as producers, making decisions on the interview subjects, angle of the story and how the film would flow.
Perego Moreno is a Cuban-Argentine. He wished to explore the question “What does it mean to be Latina in the United States?”
Perego Moreno has his own experience in finding your place between cultures.
“It’s been this journey of who am I and where do I belong because I have one foot in each,” he said.
The filmmakers interviewed 56 professional Latina women from across the United States, including women from Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
Perego Moreno explained that the term Latino or Latina refers to people from 19 different countries:Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay and Venezuela. With people from so many countries identified as Latino, a diverse set of expectations and traditions exist.
“We are all American, from Argentina to Canada,” Perego Moreno said.
The film struggled with the idea of culture and the surrounding expectations as well as personal identity and breaking through the preset mold.
“It means to struggle but it means to overcome,” said one of the interviewees in the film.
The women in the film were all professionals who had broken the mold in some way. Some of the women were college educated. Some were not married and others were lesbian. They were each striving to create an identity that included their cultural heritage and traditions while not conforming to them. Each woman achieved this in a different way.
With so many different countries the expectations vary and thus the conclusions of how to respond vary.
The idea of expectations and having a foot in two world touched the Whitworth Community. Sophomore Iris Chavez explained her experience as a Mexican-Honduran.
“We don’t have family reunions,” Chavez said.
Historically, the countries do not get along and this personally translates to Chavez’s interactions with her grandparents.
Toni Sutherland broadened the question to the entire audience, asking how to balance identity and expectations.
Skyline Features and Perego Moreno approached Rosado about showing one of their films at Whitworth.
“This is the one I thought would resonate best with people,” Rosado said. When making the decision she considered the Whitworth campus and demographics, she said.
Rosado continued to explain that she wants to “build a platform to talk about our experiences.”
This is the only official event for Hispanic Heritage Month. Rosado hopes to have an awareness campaign but no formal events are currently scheduled.
“People are proud of their culture all year long. It’s not only the one month,” Rosado said.
Contact Caitlyn Starkey at firstname.lastname@example.org