Hillside Chats: Cristian Lopez

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the OLAA Latino Family Weekend, a landmark event on OLAA’s academic calendar. This upcoming weekend will be filled with multiple events that showcase and celebrate the latino culture present here on BC’s campus. I sat down with current OLAA president Cristian Lopez to learn more about what this weekend means to both latino families and BC as a whole.

Hey Cristian! Why don’t you introduce yourself really quickly.

My name is Cristian Lopez and I am a senior in CSOM, and I have been involved with OLAA since the freshman year culture show. I am currently the president of this organization.

So, explain a little bit about what the Culture Show and what Latino Family Weekend means.

So, it’s the 10th year that we’ve hosted Latino Family Weekend. It’s an annual event, and the idea was to promote the latino heritage and culture here on campus. It’s a small population on campus, so much like the other culture shows that happen throughout the year, we don't want to create a community that’s exclusive but we want to celebrate and display that culture to the greater Boston College community.

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Photo courtesy of Cristian Lopez/Facebook

Awesome! What kinds of events are going to be happening throughout the weekend?

We start off with the Culture Show on Friday, where we will be showcasing a lot of the dance teams on campus. So Fuego del Corazon will be performing, as well as V.I.P, one of the newer dance teams performing. We’re going to have the AHANA collective theatre performing, as well as the Spoken Word Collective. Then on saturday we have three events. Starting in the afternoon we’re going to have an Ancestor Storytelling event, where we invite parents and students to share their stories, weather they’re immigration stories or political asylum, or just growing up in the United States. Following that, I'm very excited to have Las Cafeteras, which is an awesome band from L.A., where they will be hosting a music workshop for everyone who wants to come. The last event is the Banquet Dinner, which will feature our keynote speaker GSSW Professor Rocio Calvo, as well as Las Cafeteras providing live music throughout the evening.

What event do you feel most excited about?

That’s tough! I don’t know, you can’t really have me pick because they’re all my babies! But I think I'd have to choose the banquet, because anything incorporating Las Cafeteras is awesome because we’ve never flown out an artist such as them in OLAA’s history. And they’re an up-and-coming band, so it’s nice to promote their music and hopefully say you saw Las Cafeteras at BC one day when they’re winning Grammys! The banquet is also a great place to invite the latino community to connect with others in a comfortable setting.

How was organizing this event as OLAA’s President?

OLAA’s leadership team is amazing. We have 23 people that are assigned different roles, which makes my job easier. We have so many people that are dedicated to making each event great, but the only tricky part is getting the word out and bringing people to the event. The way I went about it, and a lot of the leadership team, has been through informal meetings, and connecting one-on-one to bring them closer to the latino community and learning their stories.

What does this Weekend mean to the latino community at BC?

It is, at it’s core,  a showcase of latino heritage. The theme for the weekend this year is “Nuestra Historia: Te Diremos Quien Somos” which translates to “Our Story: We Shall Tell You Who We Are”. We are all just telling our stories, whether it’s stories through spoken word, personal stories, or sharing stories through music. There is so much diversity within the latino ethnicity now at BC, so it’s exciting to bring everyone together.

Even though the event is targeted towards the Latino community, you are also trying to incorporate the greater BC community. So what would make someone who is not Latino want to come to these events?

Yeah! I think that it’s very important for those who are not latino, but have a latino friend that want to learn more about their culture and their setting. I personally have three caucasian roommates and a filipino roommate, and through the four years that I have been involved with OLAA I've been inviting them to these events. Now it’s to the level that when I put hispanic music on they start dancing! It’s important to learn from each other's cultures. I think that’s where it starts. So if you have a hispanic or latino roommate, even if they’ve never been to an OLAA event, ask them if they’re going and go with them, and get that taste of latino culture that is otherwise lacking on campus.

Definitely! It’s so important to be culturally aware.

Of course! And that’s what we’re trying to bring to campus through the weekend!

If you’re interested in any of these events, they are all at a first-come, first-serve basis. Friday night’s Culture Show is ticketed, but the tickets are free and available for pickup at Robsham while supplies last! So come out and celebrate the Latino culture with OLAA and the rest of the BC community!

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