CALEXICO — Carlos Herrera said he never anticipated there would be a month dedicated to celebrating Hispanic culture.
Now, the history professor at San Diego State University–Imperial Valley campus is the guest speaker at the college’s first Hispanic Heritage Reception, held here Friday.
“It wasn’t until I left Calexico that I became aware of my ethnicity,” Herrera said to the people in attendance. “It wasn’t until I left for college and people started treating me differently that I became aware of how other people saw me.”
Herrera went on to share his story in a short speech and that of the city in a documentary, which he produced, wrote and directed.
The documentary was of particular interest to Toni Bracamonte, one of Herrera’s students.
“I’m from Calexico, so it was nice to see the history of how the city came to be where it is today,” Bracamonte, a history major at the college, said. “I always knew there was a story behind it, and it’s nice that Dr. Herrera can bring it to light and share it with the community.”
The event was sponsored and organized by the college’s Associated Student Council.
The council’s president, Norma Garcia, said she wanted to help organize the event in order to give back to the community that embraced her.
“When I came here, I just became engulfed in the culture,” Garcia, a Northern California native, said to the audience. “I just wanted to be able to share that with other people.”
The organization and planning began about two months ago and the council was happy with the way the event turned out.
“It was a super stressful day, but we’re all very happy with the turnout,” said Alysa Teran, ASC vice president. “It was our first event and we’re glad that people actually came. We’re looking forward to expanding it and growing it in the years to come.”
Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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