Hispanic heritage celebrated all month at MCC

Flamenco dancers

National Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Metropolitan Community College’s different campuses were the sites for a variety of activities celebrating and shining a light on Hispanic culture and heritage. This year’s national theme was “Shaping the Bright Future.”

MCC kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month with a viewing of the documentary "No Más Bebés." The film takes a look at women in Los Angeles in the 1970s who were sterilized from having more children without their knowledge or consent. A group of women eventually filed a civil lawsuit in 1975. Maria Vazquez, vice president for Student Affairs, led an open discussion after the film.

MCC’s Credit Courses Abroad program takes to students all over the globe to learn outside of a classroom. Faculty and students who visited Guatemala were on hand on Oct. 4 to talk about their trip, what they learned and how students could register for the 2018 trip.

On Oct. 9, South Omaha Campus’ Industrial Technology Center was packed with students from MCC as well as all over the metro area to see the Hispanic Flamenco Ballet, brought to MCC through a grant with the Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

“More than 300 Spanish language students and teachers from Bellevue East, Bellevue West, Bennington, Fort Calhoun and Northwest High schools attended the performances of the Hispanic Flamenco Ballet,” says Barbara Velazquez, coordinator of International Education.

The month-long celebration wrapped up on Oct. 11 with a display of traditional Mexican clothing at the Elkhorn Valley Campus. Hector Moreno, founder of the Mexican Dance Academy of Nebraska discussed the clothing and the inspirations and influences of each piece.

Attendance at all the events was good, Velazquez says, with a good mix of students and staff.

“We are thankful to many MCC faculty who attend programs with their students, enhancing themes taught in the classroom with information presented through lectures, panels, films, artistic presentations and group discussions,” she says.

While Velazquez organized the programming for Hispanic Heritage Month, she says it’s a group effort with MCC faculty and staff that make it a success.

“The overall support of MCC personnel make MCC campuses welcoming and encourage audiences to take part in these life-long learning experiences,” she added.