The Equity and Justice Council (EJC) hosted a LatinXpo on March 11 on Ragsdale Lawn. The event featured a variety of vendors and several resources for students.
St. Edward’s is a “Hispanic-serving institution,” which means that a minimum of 25% of the student body identifies as either Hispanic or Latinx. Because of this, the university makes an effort to highlight their Latinx students through events like LatinXpo, Latinx graduation and by hosting a Latinx support group at the Health and Counseling Center.
At the exposition, students swarmed around the booths, creating a lively and semi-familial scene.
Viviana Jaimes, Outreach Coordinator for EJC, spoke about why EJC chose to hold an event that highlights the Latinx community.
“On campus, we’re trying really hard to bring diversity and inclusion. We just feel that [students on] this campus should feel included and like they’re being represented and safe and welcome,” Jaimes said.
The United States Census Bureau reports that Hispanics and Latinxs make up 18.3% of the population.
Lys Santamaria, a contemporary beadwork artist, also talked about why campus events like this one are beneficial to students. “Growing up, I didn’t see anything like this. I didn’t see any local artists that looked like me or that valued what I valued. And so I think it’s important just as a human and as a person to see yourself celebrated, to see yourself shown in the artwork. It can just give you more pride in who you are and so you can feel included and loved,” Santamaria said.
Santamaria makes every piece by hand in her Austin studio, using only a needle, thread, fabric and glass beads. She sold a variety of products at her booth, including beaded earrings, bracelets and enamel pins. You can find additional products on her website such as beadwork prints, greeting cards and beaded brooches.
Mariana Zamora, Success Program Coordinator for Con Mi Madre, was also informing students on resources that her organization offers to students. Con Mi Madre empowers young Latinas and their mothers by educating and supporting them through post-secondary education and beyond. Between 2018 and 2019, 76% of students enrolled in the program came from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and 84% were first-generation college students.
Zamora believes that the more students who know about Con Mi Madre, the better.
“We know that sometimes universities maybe don’t offer the services that we do. Or maybe the student doesn’t feel comfortable accessing those services, so we want to be a familiar face that a student can come to. What we like to do is kind of just to help bridge that gap.”
The Equity and Justice Council had planned to host different expos representing different students on campus, but because of the campus closure, the council was unable to go through with their plans.