As its main event for Hispanic Heritage Month at UF, the Hispanic Heritage Month student organization hosted nationally recognized political commentator Ana Navarro on October 10 at the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. Over 400 students, faculty, and staff attended to hear the viewpoint of a Republican Latina, highlighting a lesser-known section of the Latin-x political identity.
The Hispanic Heritage Month Forum event was presented as a conversation with Dania Alexandrino, Spanish-language news manager at the UF College of Journalism and Communications, and producer of the weekly Noticias WUFT radio broadcast. Alexandrino, a former CNN en español reporter and producer, recently joined UF.
The conversation covered topics ranging from immigration, the term 'fake news,' and bipartisan politics. The event was organized by UF undergraduates Kendra Blandon, Alberto Barcenas, Andres Garcia, and Laura Robles-Torres.
For many students at UF, Navarro's personal story resonated. Fleeing the Nicaraguan civil war, Navarro described how she migrated to the United States when she was eight years old. Among her comments, Navarro said she sympathized with DACAmented Gators, saying, "But for the grace of God, I would have been a DACA kid, too." The University of Florida is home to countless undocumented and DACAmented students who struggle to pave their way in education in spite of their legal status. The official philanthropy for Hispanic Heritage Month, CHISPAS, provides financial assistance to undocumented students that otherwise could not afford attending college.
In both the comments and on site, the event focused on civil responsibility and civic engagement in the student body. Chomp the Vote, the voter registration agency of Student Government, was on hand to register students to vote in upcoming elections. From the stage, Navarro encouraged the audience to get involved in public life, and call their Congressional representatives, speak out against injustice, and advocate for their communities. “If you’re not registered to vote, don’t talk to me about politics,” Navarro said in both English and Spanish to the audience.
"Stand Up, Speak Up, Empower," was the theme of the night as students engaged in an open and honest conversation on national and local politics. Hispanic Heritage Month and Hispanic Student Association are proud to promote the professional, cultural, and personal growth of all of its members. To learn more about HSA events and CHISPAS, visit to https://www.facebook.com/HSAatUF/ and http://chispasuf.com.