APU’s Latin American Student Association celebrates Latinx culture with annual Sabor Latino event.
On Friday, Oct. 11, the Latin American Student Association (LASA) hosted Sabor Latino, an annual event which celebrates Hispanic and Latinx culture through a night of spoken word, musical performances, dancing and comfort food.
The event took place from 7-9 p.m. in the Upper Turner Campus Center on East Campus. UTCC hosted over a hundred students, performers and family members as everyone gathered around tables and engaged in conversation between acts.
The theme of this year’s Sabor Latino was “mariposa,” meaning “butterfly” in english. The butterfly symbolizes growth and transformation. For guests, the term also represents how people can also transform in their own time.
The night was dedicated in remembrance of LASA vice president Daniel Montoya’s great grandmother, Carmen Vasquez, who passed away last year.
Her dedication read, “A lifelong Azusa resident, Carmen loved her familia with all of her heart and her greatest joy was spending time with all of her children and grandchildren … Tonight we come together and enjoy our time with familia in her honor.”
Montoya spoke about his grandmother at the event, saying she was the inspiration for the butterfly theme.
“My great grandmother raised me from childhood. She was my mom — I called her mom. She had a very warm heart. She was very giving, very loving,” said Montoya. “The theme was mariposa, basically just symbolizing growth and development and transition into the individual we are today as students at APU. The monarch butterfly reminds me a lot of my grandmother. It all fit really well together. I know she would have loved to see this. I know that her finding out I joined LASA when I came to APU was very exciting for her.”
Sabor Latino began with a bang as performer Petrina DeLacey called the audience to their feet to dance to Selena’s hit song “Como la Flor.” The crowd erupted with cheers and dance moves. The high energy and positive atmosphere was carried throughout the night.
Dominique Hernandez, LASA director of communications, said that Sabor Latino was a night for celebration and good times.
“It’s a good way for us to showcase the talents of all the people we have inside the community and even outside of the community … These events give us the space to do that and also to be celebrating culture at the same time,” said Hernandez.
According to the group, LASA provides a home away from home for most Latinx students who feel like they need a community of students like themselves to relate to. Recent APU graduate and former LASA president, Jason Ramirez, shared his thoughts about the group and Sabor Latino.
“The whole purpose of LASA is to help members and the APU community be a little bit more informed about Latin American culture on campus … I know a lot of the time people come in freshman year and they don’t really know where they fit in,” Ramirez said. “LASA is a great way to help people feel incorporated into the school and have a home away from home.”
LASA is not limited to Hispanic or Latinx students. The organization welcomes students of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
“APU represents a lot of different ethnic groups, and sometimes as people we just need to find others like us so we can feel more comfortable. I feel like LASA is important to APU just to make others feel at home … We approach students on campus, both the Latinx community and non-Latinx community because we feel that anyone can be a part of our little familia,” said Daisy Vargas, LASA president.
To close out the night, Mariachi Alma de mi Tierra took to the stage and performed a series of upbeat songs.
“When the mariachi came out, I had tears in my eyes because I was thinking, ‘This is such a beautiful moment to see everyone enjoying this.’ You could see it if you looked down into the crowd … To come out with all these people … who look like you and are sharing in a moment that feels like home — that was really special to me,” said Hernandez.
The organization meets bi-weekly on Tuesdays in Wilden 106 on East Campus. To get in contact with LASA for more information, visit their Facebook page at The Latin American Student Association, follow them on Instagram at apulasa, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.