‘The World in Front Of Us’

December 6, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Month at BMCC concluded with a celebratory luncheon on December 2nd at Richard Harris Terrace. The month-long festivities honoring Hispanic writers, artists and culture were held on-campus, and were coordinated by BMCC students, staffers and professors.

Guests from the BMCC community were treated to Hispanic cuisine, which included arroz (rice), pollo (chicken) and plantains (sweet bananas). Tables were adorned with flags from various countries where Spanish is a predominant language, and gentle piano music was broadcast through speakers as guests entered the room for the closing ceremony. This was the first year Acentos Latinos (Accent Latino) magazine was honored.

Copies of the on-campus literary magazine were distributed to guests, and Professor Francisca Suarez-Coalla of the Modern Languages Department, who served as the magazine’s Editorial Counselor, thanked everyone for their support of “Spanish” literature. 

Acentos Latinos, which is published every spring, is the only Spanish literary magazine at BMCC that serves as a vehicle for a multitude of students who wish to express themselves in the Spanish language, and use the magazine to reach their creative aspirations. 

Literary works recited

Throughout the luncheon, many BMCC alumni and students read or performed literary works they wrote themselves, or meant something to them on a personal level. 

Alumna Adriana Cabrera (’08) read a short story she had published in Acentos Latinos called Mis tristes quince (My fifteenth birthday). A true story, she warned the audience it was a bit “sad.”

She wanted a grand, fancy birthday party, called a Quinceañera, but unfortunately, her parents couldn’t afford to throw her one. And years later, she decided to write about it.

Cabrera, who is Dominican, currently studies sociology and psychology at CUNY’s City College. “It’s an honor to read today, and let the audience in on a little part of me and my life,” she said. An aspiring social worker, Cabrera says that being bilingual will “absolutely” work in her favor when seeking employment in her field. “So many of the jobs I see listed in social work require you to be bilingual.”

Students share their passions

Student Millena Santana Goncalves, who is Brazilian, entertained the audience by singing three Spanish songs at the piano. Her songs reminded others that “we’re not perfect,” but filled with hope and encouragement against all odds. A marketing major who plans to eventually graduate from Pace University, Goncalves said, “I performed songs that mean a lot to me, and I liked expressing what I feel.”

Student Elias Bravo, Mexican born, recited a poem inspired by his mother called, lo que me conto mi madre (I can count on my mother). “In one of my classes, we were told to write a story about an immigrant, and I wrote about my mom who always worked hard for her children,” said Bravo.

His work will appear in an upcoming issue of Acentos Latinos. “My mom knows I wrote a story about her, and she’s flattered.”

The event concluded with plaque presentations for Spanish artists Luis Soler and Lizzette Bonfante, as well as a Cha-Cha lesson for the audience.

What makes BMCC rich

BMCC President Antonio Pérez welcomed guests to the Closing Ceremony. “I’m excited to be here. This event highlights BMCC’s diversity, and BMCC is a reflection of our global world.” Pérez, who grew up in Spanish Harlem, is Puerto Rican, and said he was “humbled and honored that here at BMCC, we have the world in front of us.”

BMCC, he continued, “celebrates cultural differences and how they make us a better country; a better world. The variety of cultures here is what makes us rich, and BMCC so special.”    

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