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The Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement hosts Hispanic Heritage Month events

Shannon Barbin
Students gathered in the Payne Center to practice cultural dances.

Recently, the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) hosted Hispanic Heritage Month: A ‘Bailar, a celebration of dance. The Hispanic cultures have typically in the past been underserved and underrepresented, despite their achievements as well as contributions. Hispanic Heritage Month was designed to celebrate and recognize historical traditions within the diverse cultures.
The IME had dance instructor Mariana Canales come to the University and teach students popular Latin dances such as salsa, merengue, and bachata in the Payne Center. Hispanic Heritage Month extends from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. The IME strives to promote awareness for the community as a whole. They provide a range of events to help students become more culturally aware and to allow them to express their own cultural backgrounds.
“I mean, Hispanic Heritage Month, we don’t necessarily celebrate it that much at USM, and I wanted to make sure that our black and brown students got an opportunity to be recognized at the university,” said Jaborius Ball, the director of the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. “I wanted them to make sure they have a space when they come to the university. I wanted them to indulge and engage in this culture, and I wanted them to have the opportunity to go outside of their normal every day. And I wanted them to have the opportunity to do something they’d never done before.”
According to the IME website, their goals include ensuring that all faculty, staff and students are engaged in equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as educating the campus as a whole with training on equity, inclusivity and diversity. They also focus on collaboration within the campus community and partner to advance diversity. IME states that some of their other goals include supporting underserved students, particularly people of color, low-income and first-generation students as well as cultivating active citizens through learning and community development.
Last Thursday, IME did just that. The students had the chance to receive free dance lessons with cultural dances. IME encouraged students who were hesitant to join in and expressed that everyone was welcome; no experience was needed. Smiles were plastered across the faces of the students as well as the faculty in attendance as they danced the night away.
For more information concerning Hispanic Heritage Month or other programs offered through the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement, call (601)-266-5724 or email them at [email protected].

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