STORY AND PHOTO BY ANDREA GONZALEZ
NOCCCD kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month Thursday by inviting guest speaker Obed Silva to discuss important topics revolving around this celebration.
Hispanic Heritage month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a whole month to illuminate and celebrate the Hispanic community.
Cypress College graduate Obed Silva is currently a professor at East LA college teaching English. Professor Silva taught the English portion of Puente with Dr. Therese Mosqueda-Ponce for four years, and this year he is back to share his knowledge.
With the help of past Puente program graduate, Angel Rodriguez, professor Silva opened up his PowerPoint presentation discussing the history of HHM saying that many countries in South America gained independence in September.
Later on in the presentation, professor Silva asked the audience “Who or what would you like to see acknowledged during HHM?”, with many responses being immigrants, teachers, and healthcare workers.
With a total of 113 attendees, hosted by the Puente Program at Cypress College, the virtual meeting held through zoom not only highlighted vital issues in the Hispanic community but also asked the audience what are we doing to support the Hispanic Community.
Mr. Silva said, “You don’t have to be involved at a macro-level.” He reiterated how the Hispanic community can bring about big change if they all worked together, considering that they are the biggest minority group in California.
A popular topic of discussion was the difference between the terms Hispanic, Latino/a/x, Chicano/a, something Mr. Silva heavily talked about. He asked the audience what they identify as and why. “And this is a very important question because we don’t know who we are. Other people will identify us, or categorize us,” said Mr. Silva
“I agree with Obed. It is important to understand who we are first before people start telling us who we are,” said Andy Gonzalez, a sociology major at Cypress College.
According to a 2019 study conducted by Pew Research Center, only 3% of Hispanic adults identify as Latinx, a gender-neutral term for Latina and Latino, while only one-in-four have heard of Latinx. However, the term was coined in the recent decade, therefore this result should not be surprising to Americans
“At first I was resistant to the term Latinx. It took a while for me to evolve and embrace the term, and now I encourage other people to embrace it,” said Silva.
Thursday’s meeting was just the first out of many to take place this month. Be sure to stay tuned for what the Puente Programs across the district have in store this year for Hispanic Heritage Month. For more information about the calendar of events, please visit the Cypress College website.