The Latin American community held the annual Latino Night this weekend.
The CSU Ballroom was turned to a Latin country for the night, with decorations on each and every side of the room, representing a part of a Latin American country’s culture. They had paper cut decorations of ukuleles, cow boys and horses, and a perfect center piece which had to come from miles away just for the event.
The flowers were imported all the way from Ecuador for the occasion. People of all ages were present at the event to enjoy a night of their culture. The room felt like home away from home for most of them.
The doors were opened at 6 p.m. and guests were welcomed with entertainment by a Mexican band. The hosts were two of Minnesota State University, Mankato students, Luis Orozco and Brenda Dominguez. They served dinner and kept the entertainment going.
The night was all about celebrating the Latino heritage and its culture.
“The people are strong and resilient,” said Ibezelet Dominguez, an MNSU alumni, who also gave the welcoming speech of the night and honored the parents present at the event. She was then followed by the head of Diversity and Inclusion at the University, Tim Morris, who gave his speech.
The Latino community consists of over 25 countries.There were flags projected on the wall that showed the beauty of each country through a slide show.
The event came through with the help of Guadalupe Quintero, who is the director of Community Partnerships, and was accompanied by her granddaughter for the night. Quintero received an award from the Mexican government for the work she’s been doing by building bridges between the U.S. and Mexico, based on their indifferences. She was also among the few picked by the Mexican government to attend a workshop about it.
A table of candy was prepared at the back of the room. Candy from different Latin American countries was presented to guests. The traditional dances, done by a group called Runaway Runakunda, who not only represented Ecuador but their community, were the main segment of entertainment. They were nothing but perfect, from the man who played with fire to the little boy who had perfect sword dance skills, and the ladies who were all dressed in different traditional outfits. A photo booth was present to help everyone capture the moment as it was one for the memories.
Carlos Ramos, also an MNSU alumni, spoke on behalf of UNIDOS Minnesota, an organization representing the Latino community in Minnesota, on different issues they facing. Ramos talked about the upcoming census, and urged them to participate in it and told them how important it was not only for the whole country, but as well as Latino communities.
To close the night, a raffle draw was done to give away the center pieces, and the dance floor was opened to the audience, with cultural music loudly playing on speakers.
Header photo: A performance during the Latino Night event held in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 in Mankato, Minn. (Jack Linell/MSU Reporter)