Hispanic Heritage Month

By Madison Otten

Hispanic Heritage Month was established 50 years ago on Aug. 17, 1968, by President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by Ronald Reagan. This celebration lasted from Sept. 15 until Oct. 15,  and FRCC was a part of a multitude of institutions across the country that played host in celebration of the month.                                                                                                                                     

Melanie Rocha, involvement coordinator of Student Life at FRCC, organized the month of events.

“I want to let people and students know that Student Life cares,” said Rocha. “ I want to bring out the positives of the culture.”

Rocha wanted the Hispanic and Latin American communities to feel welcome and appreciated during a time of tense political discord. She wanted the students to feel grounded by celebrating their history.

Slam Poetry

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the Rotunda was home to Franklin Cruz, an accomplished slam poet who has won multiple awards with adult slam groups and performed at universities across Colorado.


Franklin Cruz performs slam poetry for students, faculty, and staff in the Rotunda at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colo on September 18, 2018. Photo by Ezra Ekman.

“Art is the great equalizer, regardless of where you come from or your culture,” said Cruz. “We all are storytellers. Creativity is tied to culture; art helps you identify with your culture, but you really have to know yourself.”

Cruz’s poetry ranged from his struggle with identity and sexuality to his father’s hardships as an immigrant worker. Cruz also did freestyle, where audience members called out random words, and he created a poem on the spot.  



Franklin Cruz performs slam poetry for students, faculty, and staff in the Rotunda at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colo on September 18, 2018. Photo by Ezra Ekman.


Mitos y Leyendas; Myths and Legends Lunch and Learn

On Tuesday, Oct. 2 the Snowy Peaks Room was home to a presentation on the multitude of folklore figures from Central and South America such as El Cuco. The legends were gathered from a variety of regions, from Central America, South America, Mexico, and the Southwestern United States.

Mindy Kinnaman, director of Student Life, was the one who researched and presented for the lunch and learn. Kinnaman presented mainstream and historical tales. Most of the figures came from morality tales or explanatory idioms. At the end of the presentation, the audience shared their own ghost stories.

History of the Tortilla

Outside the SOC on Wednesday, Oct. 3, two tables were set up, a poster board was decorated with the history of the corn and flour tortillas and masa, which was developed by the Mayans and Aztecs around 10,000 B.C.

“People fear what they don’t understand,” said John Rocha, assistant director of advising. “Learning about something new can build the bridge to understanding.”

Students who wanted a tortilla were given a bag of flour masa they could then roll into shape. The masa was then cooked on a small stove and then served.

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Photos by Conrad Sperosen

History of the Denver Chicano Movement with Dusti Gurule

On Thursday, Oct. 11 in the Rotunda Dusti Gurule, executive director of Colorado Organization for Latina and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), spoke about the 1960’s Chicano civil rights  movement, which fought for education, voting rights, and land restoration for Mexican Americans.

“I think knowing and understanding history and being proud to identify with your culture,” said Gurule. “For young people, it’s critical to know your roots; it can get you through tough times. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin; for me it was rooted in Chicano history.”

After Gurule finished speaking, the students were invited to go outside to and break a pinata that resembled Apollo the wolf.

October is a month of midterms and projects, but it is also a month for festivities and lore. Hispanic Heritage ended with the dismantling of a pinata but it was only the beginning of something new. Rocha looks to the future and plans to host another Hispanic Heritage month next year as FRCC continues to celebrate the heritage and culture of its diverse student community.



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