By LAIA MESEGUER CORBATÓN, NEWS3 Guest Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — Casa Latina offers the event Café y Hablamos each month at the Casa Latina Lounge, in the Multicultural Center at Western Illinois University. This activity consists of having a safe space to speak Spanish on campus while having coffee and sweets.
Joseph Tellez, better known as Joey, is a student who is majoring in social work at Casa Latina. He grew up in Round Lake Beach, a multicultural and familiar neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago. He said he feels really close to his Mexican roots and heritage.
“My culture, my history, my customs have always run through my veins,” Tellez said.
This event started off a few years ago but with less regularity. Despite that, this year there will be a new “Café y Hablamos” event at the end of each month. This activity will have different topics. The first one was “Conozcámonos” (“Let’s get to know each other”), an introductory subject that precedes a long-lasting event.
Tellez explained that the principal purpose of “Café y Hablamos” is to ensure a safe place to speak Spanish for WIU students, and to help them keep connected to their roots and their language. Sometimes when people immigrate, they tend to forget their origin, but Joey believes that it is important to encourage young people to be proud of their roots.
This event welcomes everyone, from Spanish-speaking people to those that are willing to learn and just attend as listeners. “Café y Hablamos” may soon host sessions with Spanish professors from the Foreign Language Department to teach the participants. The event helps the conversation flow and lets the participating people express themselves freely and get to know other people with similar curiosities and concerns.
Tellez highlighted the importance of the MCC and its role of “home” for students of every culture and background. He said every event is organized according to students’ concerns and interests.
“We love to put educational events for our students and our community to be more open-minded and educated on things other than what they already know,” Tellez said.
Casa Latina welcomes everyone to join “Café y Hablamos each month.” In addition, Casa Latina has more activities prepared for the next few days. For example, the event “Take Back The Night,” promoted by Casa Latina as well, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 27. It consist of a rally against sexual and domestic violence hosted by the Women’s Center.
Another event hosted by the MCC will be “Día de Los Muertos” on Saturday, Oct. 29, on the occasion of this Latin American traditional and historical holiday.
The MCC works toward plural and hosting events that promote gender, race, class and sexual orientation equality. It also defends the pride of being from another place, of a very different culture, customs, language and heritage.