By Maria Trovato
In light of Latinx Heritage Month, PLUMAS (Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society) hosted their fifth annual Latinx Monologues event Sept. 20 at Stamp Student Union.
Close to 100 audience members watched as students in the Latinx community celebrated their culture through spoken word, songs, poetry and monologue performances.
“We strive to create civic engagement and political awareness of social issues through advocacy and direct action,” said PLUMAS President Madelyne Ventura, a senior mathematics major. “We firmly believe that artistic expression is indeed a form of activism.”
Sophomore biology and science education major Josephine Vallejo was the first to take the stage, singing and playing on the charango, a guitar-like instrument from South America.
“My parents have always told me that to know where you’re going to go in your future, you have to get in touch [with] where you came from,” said Vallejo, who shifted between singing in Spanish and an indigenous Peruvian language during her performance. “For me, that means playing the music of my culture [and] playing music that reminds me of home. There are not too many places you can do this.”
Senior journalism major Karla Casique recited a slam poetry performance in English and Spanish, focusing on the oppression and dehumanization of Latinx citizens, as well as capitalizing on the overall injustices that come with deportation.
This year’s keynote speaker, Xemiyulu Manibusan, identifies as a Salvadoran Nawat Two-Spirit Non-Binary Transgender Womxn. She is also a poet, playwright, director, actor, educator and the Artistic Director of Teatro de la Septima/Seventh Generation Theatre.
In her eclectic performance, which consisted of original rap, song and slam poetry, Manibusan emphasized the violence and discrimination of femmes and trans women – particularly trans women of color.
“We decided to be a little different this year and raise awareness for a specific issue- trans non-binary indigenous women,” Ventura said.
Celebrating and asserting her identity as a “trans brown girl,” Manibusan also spoke against white privilege, deportation, queer phobia and the stereotyping of Latinx people.
While the event was organized by PLUMAS, students from outside the club were welcome and encouraged to attend. Those who did were exposed to a new area of art and activism.
“It was really cool to see everybody express their different cultures and their different talents,” senior communications major Aaron Ward said. “Being able to come to an event where I can learn about a whole new perspective of people who I may not be exposed to in my normal day-to-day life, I think is something really important.”