Hispanic Heritage Month showcases diversity among students


Photo courtesy of Tarleton’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs

Tarleton’s Tiburcio Lince is one of the faces of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs Hispanic Heritage posters.

On Sept. 21, Tarleton State University’s Office the of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs (ODIIP) held the Hispanic Culture Gallery to highlight the experiences, insecurities and emotions Hispanic students here at Tarleton face every day. The gallery took place in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center at the ODIIP office windows from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. During this month we celebrate Hispanic citizens and learn about their different cultures. Every year, Tarleton ODIIP hosts events to help educate students on the different cultures the Hispanic students.

The Hispanic Culture Gallery is one of the ways ODIIP has encouraged this education. The Hispanic Culture Gallery was a passive event, which meant that people could come and go when they had time throughout the day. The photos are visible immediately as you walk downstairs in the TSC. The gallery shows a range of different Hispanic staff, faculty and students at Tarleton, and above the images there are defining words and insecurities that each participant faces. If you missed the event, don’t worry, the photos will be up for a few more days for viewing.

Tiburcio “Turbo” Lince, the Director of ODIIP here at Tarleton, sat down to discuss the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month and how Tarleton will be celebrating it this year. Lince explained that this year, ODIIP would be taking a different approach to gallery and passive events.

“Normally with a gallery or passive events you’d typically see some posters with some information, but I wanted to push that a little bit more. So, this year you will not be learning any factoids about the Latinx community, but rather you will be witnessing a variety of experiences lived by the Latinx community here at Tarleton,” Lince said.

Although the events will look a bit different than they have in the past, ODIIP is still striving to find different ways to increase awareness of the experiences Hispanic students face on campus. Lince explains that one of the goals of the Hispanic Culture Gallery is to encourage students to look beyond themselves, listen and learn about their Hispanic classmates experiences.

“To learn to see beyond the self, it challenges you to see the pain, the suffering and the experiences of others. That will only enrich your own life,” Lince said.

One of the students that was highlighted at the event was Organization of Latinx American Students at Tarleton State (OLAS) Vice President, Narda Roman-Delgado. Roman-Delgado expresses how she hopes that when people see the gallery, they are able to dig deeper and see how the viewer is similar to the Hispanic students in the gallery.

“I hope when people see the pictures, they not only see us but they see themselves in us as well. You know, we might be different in our backgrounds, but there will always be things in common between us. I think people from all different backgrounds can relate to the insecurity of being exposed. So, this is not only a depiction or exposure of vulnerability, this is a commonality between the viewer and the people represented in the gallery,” Roman-Delgado said.

That seriousness that Roman-Delgado spoke about, was evident immediately once you saw the gallery. The photographer, Alex
Huerta, did that on purpose. Huerta explained that the reason he wanted to keep the photos serious is because he didn’t want people to be able to hide their emotions.

“I don’t like smiles. You can hide anything behind a smile and when I take photos like this for people, I tell them not to smile. The most natural characteristics of a person’s face are present without their smiles and I wanted the people to be represented accurately through the photos,” Huerta said.

This was a very important event for everyone involved. Roman-Delgado explains that events, such as the Hispanic Culture Gallery, can make a huge difference in how to develop as a person.

“For me, seeing myself being represented, having a moment to reflect upon myself and my community and taking a moment to be proud of who I am is so important in the development of who I am as a person,” Roman-Delgado said.

Tarleton is working on its goal of becoming a “Hispanic serving institution.” With over 3,000 of the current students enrolled, as of Aug. 17, 2020, identifying as Hispanic.

“The Hispanic population is large on campus and having more of a representation, that isn’t just a number, means a lot. Yes, I think people learning about our culture is great, but I also think that knowing about the people here is great also,” Huerta said.

If you missed the Hispanic Culture Gallery, don’t worry, ODIIP is holding a number of events in the near future. On Sept. 30, the Rainbow Bunch: Queer Latinx Identidad.

More information about events ODIIP hosts, can be found on Tarleton’s calendar, on Texan Sync, or follow Tarleton ODIIP @ TarletonDiversity on Instagram.