Intersectional identity takes center stage at Asian-LatinX/Hispanic celebration

Dr. Moisés Park hosted a panel of three Baylor graduate students focusing on cultural heritage for the event. Abby Roper | Photographer

By Ashlyn Beck | Staff Writer

If anyone walked by the Bill Daniel Student Center Wednesday evening and smelled dumplings or felt the drums in their chest, it was just a taste of the cultural celebration taking place inside.

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM (SACNAS), hosted the Asian-LatinX/Hispanic Cultural Celebration. While the heritage month is in May, Baylor celebrates in April so more students can take part in the events.

San Antonio graduate student Malcolm Macleod is the president of SACNAS and helped organize the event along with Dr. Moisés Park, who emceed the event, and Dr. Karine Gil, the SACNAS faculty adviser.

“This [event] is highlighting that beautiful intersectionality between Asian, LatinX and Hispanic [cultures],” Macleod said.

More than 80 people showed up to the event, which began with a showing of some famous Asian LatinX/Hispanic figures. Malcolm said it featured famous figures who attendants might not have realized identified as Asian-LatinX/Hispanic.

Immediately after, Park hosted a panel featuring three Baylor students. The questions focused on what it means to be Asian, Hispanic, LatinX and/or Latin American. Most of the panelists said music, food and language were three factors that contributed to their cultural identity.

Katy graduate student Nina Um was one of the panelists. Um identifies as Asian/Hispanic American with a Korean father and a Spanish mother. Um said her cultural heritage means she is part of both worlds equally.

“Just because I speak Spanish and I don’t speak Korean fluently doesn’t make that culture any less a part of me,” Um said.

After the panel, Gil and Park performed a few musical pieces, Gil on piano and Park on guitar. They invited those in the audience to sing along to Todo Cambia, a song originally written in Spanish but with lyrics translated into Korean and English.

Following Gil and Park’s performance, the Filipino Student Association performed a traditional Tadhana dance, and Baylor Lion Dance performed a traditional dance.

“Everyone who [showed] up will get to learn a lot from the panel, will get really entertained by these very intercultural performances and get to eat delicious, unique food that they won’t find anywhere else,” Macleod said.

After a short introduction of SACNAS leaders and thanking everyone who helped with the event, attendants were offered food that was catered from Cha Community.

According to Macleod, the purpose of the event was to celebrate intersectional identity.

“There are a lot of people here at Baylor who identify as any mix of Asian, LatinX or Hispanic — not just our large Filipino student body, but also a lot of faculty that have intersectional identities,” Macleod said.

While there were a large number of Asian American, LatinX, and Hispanic-identifying people in attendance, Macleod said events like this are open to anyone and everyone.

“For any of these celebrations, … it’s for everyone, and we want everyone to be involved in celebrating each other,” Macleod said.