By Jessica Rupert
On the weekend of March 20th through the 22nd, L.U.N.A. is going to SUNY Albany to represent Siena at the 19th Annual National Latino Conference. Each conference has a theme or title, and this year’s is “La Voz de La Calle…Turn Up the Volume.” La Voz de La Calle means ‘the voice of the streets,’ which is meant to put forth the message that all individuals of a community have a right to be heard. Past conferences have taken on subjects such as “Quinceañera: Celebrating our People, Culture and Heritage,” “Yo Declaro: Latinos claiming their community,” and “Bridging the Gap: Luchando Hacia el Futuro.” Each theme encompasses the message of the Latino community holding an empowering and highly involved position within today’s society.
Fuerza Latina, the organization at SUNY Albany, has been an active club within the SUNY community since 1971. Its mission is to act as a communicator between Latino students and the college community. Through many organized events, Fuerza Latina attempts to inform the community of social, political, and economic issues that affect the Latino community. The first conference was organized in 1991 by Jose Maymi and has since grown in size and reputation. First known as the Northeastern Latino Collegiate Conference, and through the hard work of Fuerza Latina, the conference has evolved in the National Latino Collegiate Conference, inviting college students’ nation wide to attend the event.
This year’s conference will consist of keynote speakers, workshops, banquets and a leadership summit. Some of the workshops offered include: Men & Women, Protests, Horizontal Hostility, Latin American Films, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community in Latin America, Reading Between the Lines: Graffiti Art, and Gentrification. All of the workshops are held on Saturday the 21st at different times of day. On Friday, the conference opens with a talent show at 7 in the evening and a Fuerza party in the SUNY Campus Center Ballroom. The weekend ends on Sunday the 22nd with a brunch and a leadership summit where students come together for a discussion involving the continuation of the conference and the future goals to be achieved by Fuerza Latina and all other organizations involved in the conference, like Siena’s own L.U.N.A.
L.U.N.A. encourages any and all Siena students to attend the conference to further their knowledge of the Latino community. For further information concerning the event and activities being held each day, visit http://www.albany.edu/~nlcc/index.html. Since Siena is so close to SUNY Albany, Siena students will not spend the weekend in Albany. Instead, transportation will be included in the $35 registration price required to attend the event. Franchel Mendoza, the founder and co-chair of L.U.N.A. states, “L.U.N.A. (Latinos Unificando Nuestra America) would like to invite the Siena College community to the 19th Annual National Latino Collegiate Conference at SUNY Albany as we all take a progressive step towards positive change and awareness of diverse cultures.” If you want to experience an eye opening introduction to the Latino community or continue working on expanding your knowledge, contact L.U.N.A for further information.