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Hispanic Heritage Month at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Mid-September to mid-October 2017

Amilcar Guzman, Director of Data and Evaluation, CASA
Jacqueline Mazza, Adjunct Professor of Latin American Studies

On October 11 the school's Diversity Committee hosted a discussion on Hispanic Immigration in Today’s America: Facts and Cultural Identity in an Era of Walls, Insults and Policy Uncertainty. Amilcar Guzman, Director of Data and Evaluation at CASA, was joined by Jaqueline Mazza, Adjunct Professor of Latin American Studies and the Principal Labor Markets Specialist of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Mazza began with an overview of US immigration policies and continued efforts for comprehensive reforms, as well as issues related to border security. She highlighted the policy on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and how its repeal would affect the millions of Americans living and working in various fields. She argued that the Trump administration's immigration proposals would have negative economic and social consequences if enacted, emphasizing the need to analyze the available data to identify gaps in current policy.         

Guzman discussed the types of programs conducted by his nonprofit organization which include trainings, legal and financial assistance, and workforce development services. CASA also works on advocacy at the state and local level, lobbying candidates for progressive and effective immigration policies.

The event included a catered lunch highlighting culinary traditions throughout Central and South America. Attendees enjoyed yucca, plantains, arroz con leche, and pupusas, made with maize prepared using a technique of the Mesoamerican people that predates the Columbian era.

The event ended on a hopeful note with several of the audience members sharing their experiences with immigration policy in the US and discussing productive ways to move forward.

Photo album

Tour of the Gateways/Portales Exhibit at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

On October 19, a group of staff and students traveled to the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum for a tour of the Gateways/Portales exhibit which focuses on the migration of Latin people to the United States and examines the cultural contributions that Latin Americans have made. The tour was led by Ariana Curtis, Curator of Latinx Studies at the Smithsonian Institution. Curtis provided insights that greatly added to the visitor experience, according to Cristina Benitez of the Johns Hopkins SAIS Diversity Committee, which co-sponsored the tour with the Johns Hopkins University Latino Alliance. Benitez said the group enjoyed hearing the background stories of artists and how they were inspired to express their concepts of Hispanic heritage in their work.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2500.0"] Mural by Rosalia Torres Weiner at Gateways/Portales exhibit at Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Mural by Rosalia Torres Weiner at Gateways/Portales exhibit at Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum [/caption]

The Office of Student Affairs and the Diversity Committee also co-sponsored a Latin-themed cookie hour for students on September 26. The menu featured coffee and cafe con pan dulce cookies from a local Latin bakery.