Students created colorful papel picados, a decorative Mexican craft, during the Multicultural Resource Center’s (MRC) celebration of Latinx Heritage Month on Monday.
The event, held in collaboration with Omega Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Corazón de Dahlia and Chi Upsilon Sigma Sorority, provided attendees with templates and papier-mache to craft banners with intricate and colorful designs, known as papel picado. The banners are used during Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that takes place between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2 and celebrates family members and friends who have passed away. They are also used in a variety of important celebrations throughout the year, including baptisms and weddings.
According to Jose Maldonado, a diversity fellow for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the event aimed to celebrate the Latinx community within Latinx Heritage Month, which is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
“It’s an opportunity for anyone to come in and experience a different type of craft,” Maldonado said. “We want to be able to provide different programming to help engage the campus community regardless of who they are, so it’s just an opportunity to help promote the Latinx community, the culture, the art, the fashion [and] the music.”
Adina Matos, a program assistant at the MRC and a second-year graduate student studying public administration, organized the event and said she wanted to do something fun related to Latinx Heritage Month.
“We wanted to do something for Latinx Heritage Month but nothing too serious, something fun enough where we can celebrate the cultures,” Matos said. “We picked Mexican culture for this one.”
The movie “Coco,” a Disney Pixar film that takes place during Día de los Muertos in Mexico, was played while attendees created papel picado. Many of its scenes prominently feature the craft. Savannah Markel, a member of Omega Phi Beta, an organization that emphasizes cultural awareness, and a junior majoring in human development, said she was happy with the movie choice.
“It’s one of the only movies that is representative of people of color,” Markel said.
Yoamny Adams, a member of Omega Phi Beta and a junior majoring in human development, said she was disappointed by the lack of support from other communities.
“It’s an event that shouldn’t just be Latinx people,” Adams said. “There should have been more of the Binghamton community out there. A lot of people don’t go out of their way to learn about other cultures.”
According to Markel, people on campus often aren’t concerned about cultural problems that don’t affect them.
“People don’t think it’s that important,” Markel said. “People who aren’t affected by cultural problems don’t really care.”