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February 12, 2024

Hispanic Heritage Month Trip Educates Students on Culture

Paul Lambermont, a tour guide at El Museo del Barrio, sharing his thoughts behind the meaning of the piece “Madama of the Shells” by Diógenes Ballester to the group of Suffolk students on Oct. 6, 2023. (Elisha Feliz/Compass News)

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Multicultural Affairs of Ammerman campus sponsored a trip on Oct. 6 for students to visit El Museo Del Barrio and El Nuevo Caribeño Restaurant in Upper Manhattan for students to learn about the extensive history of latino culture.

A group of 25 students – myself included – and two chaperones attended this trip. Meeting first at Ronkonkoma station, taking the LIRR to Grand Central station, and making the several subway stops to make it to our first destination of the day, El Museo Del Barrio. 

Raphael Montañez Ortiz founded El Museo Del Barrio in 1969 along with a variety of other educators and artists dedicated toward the mission of honoring Latin American cultures through art. 

As stated on El Museo’s  website, “The mission of El Museo del Barrio is to present and preserve the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States.”

The exhibition that was being shown at this time was ‘Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección,”. The section of the exhibit our group was led through was titled ‘Afro-Diasporic Modernities’, the works in this section centered around the relationship that the Afro-Latino diaspora has with spirituality.

This exhibition exposed myself and others to cultures such as the Taíno, the indigenous people of the Caribbean. And through the use of art created the opportunity for dialogue and conversations to occur about the rich history of the Taíno and their impact on Latino culture.

As we finished our tour, we were invited to participate in an art workshop. The purpose being to create a piece of art inspired by any of the themes seen in the works throughout the exhibit. With mixed media, students created a variety of artworks that reflected what impacted them the most after walking through the exhibit.

A table of several art pieces made by students after the art workshop at El Museo de Barrio on Oct. 6, 2023. (Elisha Feliz/Compass News)

After leaving El Museo del Barrio, we only walked a few blocks down to get to El Nuevo Caribeño. This restaurant had a variety of Latin American dishes that exposed students to a culture of food that they might not be familiar with.

The restaurant welcomed our group with open arms and despite our rather large party count, treated us with great hospitality.

Speaking as someone that identifies as Afro-Latina, this trip was something I found great value from. I was able to see my identity represented through art and learn more about my culture and others I was not as familiar with.

“Culture should be celebrated.” said Malika Batchie-Lockhart, head of Multicultural Affairs at Ammerman Campus. 

“Education beyond the classroom is important, and the more that we are exposed to, the more we can understand about other cultures.” 

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About the Contributor
Elisha Feliz, Editor-In-Chief
Elisha Feliz is a journalism major from Bellport and a contributing writer for Compass News. Feliz is unsure of where she will go after graduating this fall but plans to continue her education to earn a bachelor's in journalism. She likes to draw, read, and play video games in her spare time.  

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    Riley ZOct 17, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    Great article about the trip! Interesting to also hear about the Taíno people, was looking into them after seeing that!