"El Comienzo" Banquet Kicks off 1619 Series

"El Comienzo" Banquet Kicks off 1619 Series

El Comienzo, the annual banquet hosted by the student group Fuerza Latina, has a new look this year and a new focus: mental health awareness.

Per tradition, the black-tie event will include presentations and performances by campus organizations. But to adhere to COVID-19 safety requirements, it will be held simultaneously in three separate rooms in the Campus Center – the Auditorium, the Multi-Purpose Room, and the Ballroom, as well as virtually via Zoom. To attend tonight’s El Comienzo in person, register through MyInvolvement. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the festivities commence at 6:30.

Since its founding in 1971 as a service and support network for students of Latinx descent, Fuerza Latina has offered a welcoming and safe space for students of Latinx heritage to forge supportive relationships and plan activities. It has grown into an all-inclusive, Latinx-based group with an aim to identify and highlight current and relevant issues to the Latinx and greater community and deliver cultural programming.

Fuerza Latina partnered with UAlbany’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to host El Comienzo (the beginning) and the mental health awareness theme is noted in the event’s title “Rompiendo el Silencio” (shatter the silence).” It is the lead-in event for ODI’s series on the 1619 project, “The Idea of America,” which continues into November.

The series was created by ODI’s Committee on Racial Justice, which works to provide opportunities for dialogue among faculty and staff related to racial equity, diversity and inclusion. 

The title “The Idea of America” comes from an essay in the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, a series examining our county’s history by “placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the national narrative.”

ODI’s workshop series is in three parts:

Part One – 1 p.m. Thursday, October 22
A panel discussion exploring how laws, policies, and systems developed to enforce the enslavement of Black Americans before the Civil War influenced laws, policies, and systems in years since. 

Part Two – 1 p.m. Thursday, October 29
Small group dialogues exploring how activism by Black Americans throughout U.S. history has contributed to laws/policies that have benefited all people living in the U.S. 

Part Three - 12 Noon, Tuesday, November 10
"Unpacking the Results." Presented in partnership with Rockefeller College Your Vote Rocks Election Series.