Vanessa Gonzalez, diversity fellow with UMB’s Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives, facilitated a panel discussion with members of the Latinx community from Baltimore businesses and art- and community-based organizations Sept. 29 at the SMC Campus Center.
The discussion, titled “Adelante: Baltimore’s Booming Latinx Community,” covered the work and successes occurring in the Latinx community, difficulties the community has faced in Baltimore, and how to be an ally to the community, specifically those who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients or undocumented.
The panel started with a discussion of the Latinx community and stereotypes. The panel members agreed on the importance of recognizing that there is no one color or type of person who fits the definition of Latinx. Panel members Gustavo Minaya and Jesus Perez expressed the importance of understanding that members of the Latinx community are at different stages of documentation and, no matter their stage, they are contributing to society.
The discussion moved on to the work and successes the panel has seen in the Latinx community. Panel member Valeria Puentes discussed her work in organizing the SOMOS Latinx Art and Culture Festival last April and how it allowed for connections to be made throughout the city and provided a missing space for the community. The discussion also covered the role of CASA de Maryland in the community as well as the Esperanza Center, southeast high school Latinx groups, and Centro SOL.
Finally, the panel closed with how to be an ally for the Latinx community, specifically DACA recipients or undocumented. The panel recommended talking and working with members and organizations in the community to see what needs must be addressed and where your efforts would be most appreciated.