Drawing attendees from across the state, Delta Tau Lambda, a Latina sorority at the University, hosted its 21st annual “Salute to Latinas” event in the Michigan League Ballroom.
The event aimed to unite women regardless of their social and cultural identities by providing an atmosphere of empowerment. The night featured keynote speeches from prominent social justice activists in the state.
“We hope that our audience takes away that while they might experience something they may not be knowledgeable about, (they will hear) experiences of another woman and to be a little more open minded,” said LSA senior Wendy Cortes, an event coordinator.
Cortes said she often sees cultural events on campus being promoted by a single diversity group as opposed to several collaborating on a larger multicultural event.
“Instead of minority groups unifying to reach the shared goal, they kind of separate each other, and there is a lot of bias. In my personal opinion I think there could be a lot more progress made if groups unified,” Cortes said.
Though the event was put on by a Latina sorority, the audience included attendees of all genders and ethnicities. Fellow Multicultural Greek Council members, such as Kappa Phi Lambda, an Asian-interest sorority, also attended.
“We like to show up and support other Greek orgs within our MGC … We like to support each other by showing up to each of our events,” said LSA senior Rosy Liao, a Kappa Phi Lambda member.
Ida Lu, another member of Kappa Phi Lambda, had attended the event in the past.
“We just want to support the other Greek organizations and also learn about the culture and spread awareness about different cultures,” Lu said. “Last year it was in a different environment, so I’m excited to see what they have this year.”
The keynote speaker for the event was artist and hip-hop dancer Piper Carter, who talked about the importance of people sharing their own stories and being able to share them.
“People of color are taught that our existence is not valuable,” Carter said.
Carter narrated her childhood in New York City, where, despite being African American, she lived in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood and attended a Jewish school. As she recounted anecdotes from her upbringing, several Puerto Rican audience members clapped and agreed out loud with similarities in their own upbringing.
One particular story Carter told was of how her Puerto Rican babysitter would give her a warm milk and sugar beverage— a childhood memory still stays with her today.
“And what’s important about that is ritual and family,” Carter said. “How many of you went back and felt really good? Wasn’t that like the best thing? These things are valuable right? I don’t have any milk right here, or sugar, or none of that, but that memory is real.”
Carter said her multicultural background helped her respect other people and their customs more.
“It allowed me to have really personal experiences about not judging people, because I was placed in all these various situations where I was able to really learn about people,” she said.