To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month (LHM) and its 50th anniversary, Binghamton University’s Latin American Student Union (LASU) will provide students with a multitude of cultural and political activities including letter writing, critical discussions and a series of interactive events throughout the month.

This weekend kicked off LHM, which will start with a lecture held by guest speaker Denise Oliver-Velez, a member of the Young Lords civil and human rights organization, a group that aims to empower Puerto Ricans and Latinos. On Monday night, she will talk about her current activism work in Puerto Rico and her efforts within the community.

Besides the lecture, the free event will feature tabling from student groups including the Black Student Union, College Progressives, the Quimbamba dance group and the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations. There will also be a painting activity and an opportunity to make sleeping bags for the homeless.

Jennifer Roman, vice president of LASU and a junior majoring in psychology, said this year’s events are planned to be larger than usual.

“Since it’s our 50th year, we wanted to do something bigger and have a guest speaker as well as different seminars that people can take part in after the speaker speaks,” Roman said. “Denise is a perfect speaker to talk about her active work in the past and also her current work in Puerto Rico and different immigration activism.”

Roman continued to talk about how their 50th anniversary is a time to look back on the origins of the group.

“Latinx Heritage Month is a time to reflect on our history and how far we have come,” Roman said. “Being our 50th year, I wanted to highlight our culture and coming back to our roots as well as to continue to persevere no matter the conditions we are currently in.”

Activities throughout the month, according to Roman, will include a discussion workshop about the “Ricky Renuncia” protests against the Puerto Rican governor, Ricardo Rosselló, from this past summer, a collaborative event with the Service for Health, Inequality reduction, Natural disaster relief and Education (S.H.I.N.E.) to write letters to detainees and act as an active voice and a workshop to discuss the Trump administration’s role in immigration.

Richie Sebuharara, assistant director of the Multicultural Resource Center, said he is enthusiastic about this month’s events.

“I plan to attend the plans — it’s an exciting time to see students come together,” Sebuharara said. “I’m looking forward to the events.”

Roman said she hopes attendees have the chance to learn about themselves at the events.

“I think people attending these events will learn more about their culture, which is something that, when I came to Binghamton, I was proudly able to do with this organization,” Roman said. “I hope that people will come to events to learn about current issues and their culture, but to also put into action within the community to make a change and help the lives of those within our community.”