Photos: Davon Clark
In April of 2015, Nosotros Somos Familia! was initially thought of because of a conversation by two friends. When Hazel Pina, Dominican Students Association Vice President, was talking to her friend, she noticed that there wasn’t a similar event like Touch of Africa, which highlights the African culture, for her culture. The closest event to that would have been Noche Latina, which is a pageant for Mr. & Mrs. Latinx. She immediately saw an issue with that and needed to make a change. Pina then brought this idea up to Stacy Tirado, co-social chair for Latino Caucus, to begin creating this event under Latino Caucus since it is the umbrella organization for Latinx organizations.
Many months of planning, researching, idea processing and paperwork went into the event. They wanted to make sure they unified all Latinos on campus because of the disconnect from international Latinos and Latinos from the United States. Their main goal was authenticity. Every country had to be represented correctly. The name at first was a little tricky. Pina wanted the name to relate back to Penn State’s “We Are” but didn’t know how exactly to go about it. Then it hit her. During an event she was at someone was talking about family, and Nosotros Somos Familia! was created.
The event was filled with performances food and information about the different countries within the Latinx community, but just as any event, it wasn’t perfect. Tirado said, “The DJ had a bunch of cord issues and he came late. We were also short on forks and knives.” While the minor issues occurred, Tirado was also, “overwhelmed.” because she “couldn’t believe that this happened.” The entire planning and process of this event took so long that they didn’t know that they were going to see an end goal. Both Tirado and Pina were both so grateful and happy for the unity- which seemed to be the night’s theme. They of course have some improvements to implement next year, but the feedback they received on the event was exciting.
Pina said, “[I] hope many more things like this can happen. We can be gathered together in one place and won’t be judged. Building each other up.”