This weeks blog post comes from our Alianza Latina liaison, Jennifer Gil
Leaving my rich, and diverse Latino community back home and coming to UVM not only left me in shock but feeling so out of place. There’s nothing I miss more than the smell of the El Salvadorian and Colombian bakeries on every corner, the loud salsa playing from cars, and the families soaking up the New York sun while playing dominoes. There was no denying that my love for my own Latin culture and others led me to the ALANA (African/Latino/Asian/Native American) affiliated organization at UVM called, Alianza Latina.
Alianza Latina’s mission is to not only to celebrate the different Latin cultures at UVM but share them with greater the Burlington/Vermont community as well. We strive to educate the public but also share our culture through music, dancing, and of course FOOD through events we organize every semester. Our Spring semester event called, Comida Para La Gente: “Él Sazón de UVM,” was on March 21st this year and it was such a beautiful night. People from different backgrounds came together to celebrate a night filled with performances, dancing, and home cooked Latin food. Our theme this year was meant to not only celebrate this “sazón” of UVM, us Latino identified students on campus, but also the Latin culture that goes unnoticed in Vermont.
This semester I made it my goal to not only learn more about Latin@s in Vermont but educate students about this unnoticed working force that drives our dairy/agricultural industry here as well. Huertas has given me the opportunity to be involved but also spark interest into Latin@ students on campus that want to get involve, but don’t/didn’t know how to. My work in Huertas and my position on Alianza Latina has led me to use the two to attract more attention to Huertas and spread the word on such a wonderful and beautiful project.
Alianza Latina used Comida Para La Gente this year as a platform to educate the public on Huertas and the presence of these migrant workers in Vermont. Of our proceeds earned this year for Comida, 30% of it will be donated to Huertas (which is $500!). I know personally the great things Huertas does for Latin@ migrant workers in Vermont and I respect and love that so much. The Huertas team doesn’t only give these strong men and women a taste of home through the kitchen gardens, but friends and relationships that mean so much more. Alianza Latina’s mission statement is to support diversity and celebration of our beautiful culture, and we absolutely admire the work Huertas does towards that.
My experience so far on the Huertas’ team and making connections with students has been a learning and rewarding experience. Seeing the excitement they have about getting involved and volunteering is satisfying because it’s for a project that benefits these workers whose work has gone unacknowledged for too long. I personally am so excited to see what the warm weather will bring and am looking forward to getting out there and meeting so much more extraordinary people.
Alianza Latina thanks Huertas for their hard work, dedication, and inspiring actions in aiding the Latino/a migrant workers in Vermont!