A New Standard for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month


Juliette Propp, Editor-In-Chief

Paz Barrera ‘23 and Julian Reyes ‘23 set the bar high for their leadership of the Latinx/Hispanic culture club. As they get ready to graduate and pass the baton to the next generation of activists, they reflect on the legacy they want to leave behind, and their hopes for future LatinX/Hispanic Heritage Months at Friends. 


Latinx/Hispanic heritage month spanned from September 15th to October 15th, and the two leaders of the club kicked it off with a lunch discussion focused around Sandra Cisneros’ poetry in preparation for a field trip to hear her speak. Barerra and Reyes also worked long hours organizing a poster-making event, a highschool-wide Latinx/Hispanic kahoot, grade-wide Jeopardy games, assembly speakers, a book drive and Friends Seminary’s first ever Flag Day. 


During the poster-making event, upper school students were tasked with making posters about what Latinx/Hispanic culture meant to them. “Our poster-making party was a huge success,” Barerra exclaimed, “We made 41 lall together.” These posters adorned the walls of Friends Seminary for the duration of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage month. 


Blair Parker, head of the upper school, arranged a special assembly during which soccer player, Olympian and activist Melissa Ortiz spoke. She discussed her career and the struggles that came with being a Latina, soccer player. “It was a great opportunity for the students to hear a success story from the Latinx/Hispanic community from which there are many,” Reyes explained. Barerra added that “we tried to hone in on everything the Latinx/Hispanic community has and keeps on contributing not just to our school but to New York as a whole.” 


Friends Seminary participated in a student-led organization called Libros del Mundo; they work to collect books and donate them to low income schools with high populations of Latinx/Hispanic students. “Friends Seminary alone donated 500 books to the organization,” Reyes remarked. 


The upper school’s first ever flag day concluded the Latinx heritage month celebrations. Students dressed in colors of different Latinx/Hispanic countries’ flags to represent all different cultures. Both Barrera and Reyes were elated to see increased engagement with the diversity and vibrancy of the Latinx/Hispanic community amongst students compared to previous years. 


“We couldn’t have organized everything without help from the CPEJ team,” Reyes said. Although the two were thrilled with how the month ended, they called for further support from the administration and greater representation in the curriculum. Reyes continued, “we hope the administration as a whole will prioritize the month in the future, and not just view it as an Instagram post.” Taking steps such as dedicating class time to Latinx studies, making sure more faculty attend student-led events and promoting all events on social media, not just those that are led by administration. Barrera added, “There is very limited information about Latinx people, history and culture in the Friends curriculum, and there is a lot to be learned, which became very apparent this year.” 


Reyes concluded, “Paz and I put in a ton of work, and ultimately we are extremely happy with the product. We hope that in years to come that people will be excited to join the club, and celebrate the month.”