Tacos. Piñatas. Fútbol. These are all words that come to mind when one thinks of Latino culture. But Latino culture is more than that, and that is why Alma Latina, a club devoted to spreading Latino culture throughout IMSA, exists. Diversity is celebrated at IMSA as we work to break down cultural barriers to become more accepting and understanding, and culture clubs like Alma Latina are essential to this goal.
Alma Latina unfurls the vast and diverse culture of the Latin world through events like monthly Salsa Nights or the annual cultural show Casa de Alma. Salsa Nights expose students to Hispanic food, dance, and music in a fun and engaging atmosphere. The sophomore Lucas Urbanski says, “It’s a fun way to experience a culture that I am not a part of.” These Salsa Nights are great opportunities for students to relax and immerse themselves in another culture.
By far, Alma Latina’s biggest event is Casa de Alma. Casa de Alma usually occurs at the end of the school year in May. It is a culture show featuring acting, dancing, and singing. Anyone can participate or simply sit back and enjoy the show. Last year, recalls an IMSA senior, Casa de Alma’s theme was the different aspects of Latino culture. The story involved the wedding of a couple with different Hispanic backgrounds.
Latino culture is not a single homogenous lifestyle, but rather an amazingly diverse collection of different groups of people united by a language and similar history. Not all Latinos are Mexican—they could be Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, or Columbian. Thus, the cultural region is very vast, covering millions of people. Shows like Casa de Alma work to present different aspects of Hispanic culture. For example, Casa de Alma showcases dances like the Cumbia from Columbia or the Bachata from the Dominican Republic.
“Alma Latina provides me greater cultural understanding because it enhances my cultural and racial appreciation by bringing me closer to my culture,” says a senior involved in Alma Latina. Not only do culture clubs like Alma Latina introduce their cultures to outsiders, they also help people already part of the culture form stronger connections to it. Overall, throughout their many events, Alma Latina helps students explore a culture that has heavily influenced America, from pop music to churros.
It is important to understand other cultures in order to gain a wider appreciation of diversity and the greater world, and Alma Latina helps IMSA contribute to that process.