An Inclusive Gathering Place for the Latinx Community and Beyond – The Clerk
Casa HispÃ¡nica has always been an off-campus community house for members of the Latinx population of Haverford. In 2020, the administration decided to sell the original La Casa. The Latinx community was not satisfied that the College did not prioritize creating an inclusive space for its Latinx students, especially as partner schools Haverford, Swarthmore and Penn, provided such spaces for their Latinx communities. Thus, in the spring of 2020, the Latin American Student Alliance (ALAS) launched a call to action to advocate for a community space. During the 2020-2021 academic year, ALAS created a committee to finalize the organization of a new space.
After many rallies, letters, and meetings with the administration, community efforts to push the administration to support the third largest ethnic group in Haverford finally came to fruition with the Latinx Cultural Center, or LCC. Located at 5 College Circle, the Center opened in September 2021 and has already hosted several events, most notably during Latinx Heritage Month.
As Monica Mena Cordero ’24 describes, the students were not resigned to losing space. âAfter losing La Casa, we lacked a space to come together as a community. We spent years arguing with the administration for new space. After this long struggle, we finally have a space, the LCC. Of course, we do plan and look forward to upcoming community events, but it’s crucial to remember that [the] LCC represents our fight for inclusiveness for Latinx and BIPOC students.
The new LCC provides a physical space for the Latinx population to organize events, organize ALAS meetings, study or just relax. While the primary goal is to provide space for members of the Latinx and BIPOC community, the LCC is intended to provide resources to any student in need.
Anthony Carrillo ’23 hopes that the LCC will help facilitate community building not only among the Latinx community but among the BIPOC community in general. âWe want home to be a place where people can get the resources they need like food, cooking, textbooks, books to read, a place to stay in an emergency. let’s just try to make it as accessible as possible for everyone who needs it. “
Signs posted throughout the house are intended to visualize what the space should be used for and how it can best serve the community. At a meeting, the signs were put up and members had the opportunity to write down their thoughts to give a better idea of ââwhat the community wants the LCC to be.
Jorge Paz Reyes ’24 anticipates ways the LCC can be used to continue fostering community among Latinx students: âI can’t wait [to] see the Latinx Center become a community gathering place to promote more community and create lasting change in Haverford. I hope the Latinx Community Center can create a community by providing [students of color] a space for them to embrace their identity.