Hispanic Heritage Month event held by sorority

Danielle Campbell Copy Editor

On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc. held their first event for Hispanic Heritage Week on campus Wednesday, Sept. 15.  

This was also their first educational event. The event was created and presented by sociology major with a focus on criminal justice and Vice President of the sorority Analys Torres, a senior. Torres got the idea from a research paper she did last year on the topic. 

 “I pretty much did a research project, it was more of a term paper, last year around this time about incarcerated pregnancies within Brazil and in the United States. I wanted to include that as well because what I learned from my term paper I feel as though everyone should learn about it,” said Torres.  

Having Puerto Rican roots herself, Torres wanted to bring more information on Latin America to the campus. The event was both in person and online to reach more people. 

 “I feel as though since there’s not a lot of Hispanic representation on campus. I feel as though there should be more, and I tried to do that. And since it’s my first educational event of the semester, I decided to start with this since a lot of Latin women are underrepresented, especially within their own country. I decided to bring awareness to this issue since a lot of students here at Southern don’t know much about either Latin heritage, or what the problems going on within Latin America,” said Torres.  

According to the presentation, one of Latin American prisons’ biggest issues is their focus on men and how they should be cared for medically. Since more men used to be in prison, the medical personnel are more equipped to help male biology. This has not changed with the increase of women in prison.  

“The female prison population last year, they have grew from at least 40, 000 to 74, 000 inmates. So due to this, prisons do not have the appropriate supplies needed for the female population,” said Torres. “They don’t have the appropriate skills or knowledge to handle the female incarcerated prisoners, let alone have the proper staff to help with whatever needs that they need.”  

Torres covered three country in the presentation: Brazil, Costa Rica and Cuba. Each with their own set of issues. The in-person students sat engaged with the PowerPoint as Torres described each countries mistreatment of imprisoned women. 

 “I never knew that this was a huge problem that needed to be addressed. I had an idea that prisons in South America was in a deteriorating state. It had opened my eyes to how women are being mistreated in prison. I am Spanish so engaging in this presentation made me want to go out and make a change,” said communications major and music minor Brian Green, a sophomore.  

Carmen Rodriguez is the president of Gamma Zeta regional alumni chapter, an alumni chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc for graduate students and working professionals. She came out to this event to support her undergraduate sisters.  

“So, I came out here to support my undergrads, honestly. The goal I have for my chapter this year is basically for us to support our undergrads more within the area. So, I’m trying to make it out to all the events that they’re having in person,” said Rodriguez. 

 Torres concluded the presentation with information on how to help these women if anyone felt called to do so and a statement on the severity of the topic.  

“This is really a human rights issue that’s going unnoticed, especially throughout the whole world. So, the whole world can know about this issue if a lot of people want to speak about it. Because the same issue that is happening within Latin America will also be happening within other countries.” 

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