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Clayton State kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

As Clayton State University's Laker Fiesta winded down on Tuesday, the Atlanta-based Latin band, Tahino, treated the few remaining party goers to two final songs that invoked images of a rock 'n' roll guitarist - and an Italian-American boxer

One was an instrumental rendition of Santana's "Black Magic Woman." The other song was an instrumental version of Survivor's song, "Eye of the Tiger," from the "Rocky" film series.

Clayton State's Campus Life Office held the fiesta to celebrate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, which will run through mid-October. Four more Hispanic Heritage Month events will be held at CSU over the next month.

Lakiesa Cantey, Clayton State's assistant director of campus life, said Hispanic students make up roughly 10 percent of the more than 6,000 students enrolled at Clayton State.

"We have a pretty large Hispanic population here," Cantey said. "It's important the students understand the impact that the Hispanic culture has had on America."

Hispanic Heritage Month began on Sept. 15, which is the anniversary date for independence in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, according to a Hispanic Heritage Month press release from the U.S. Census Bureau. The anniversary of independence in Mexico and Chile is observed today, Sept. 16.

There are 46.9 million Hispanics in the U.S., according to the census bureau's press release. The press release says the agency is projecting that there will be 132.8 million Hispanics living in this country by July 1, 2050.

The annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month dates back to 1968, when it was just a week-long event proclaimed by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, according to the Census Bureau. The agency also reported that the celebration was expanded into a month-long event in 1988.

Clayton State's fiesta on Tuesday included the performance by Tahino, as well as food from Latin American and Caribbean countries, such as Mexico and Cuba -- and a piñata-breaking contest.

"I liked the music, it was a nice atmosphere to bring my children to where they could have fun," said Shameka Groomes, a freshman pre-nursing major, and wife of Clayton State Department of Recreation and Wellness Assistant Director Hakim Groomes. Shameka Groomes brought three children to the event: Hakim, Jr., 4, Kiyah, 2, and Kaleb, 7 months.

Future Hispanic Heritage Month events at CSU include:

· A Nacho Fund-raiser, hosted by the university's Hispanic Student Association, which will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 11:30 a.m., to 1 p.m., on "Main Street" in the James M. Baker University Center.

· A movie night, also hosted by the Hispanic Student Association, which will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 7 p.m., to 9 p.m., in the ballroom of the Student Activities Center.

· A Hispanic Cultural Show, hosted by the Hispanic Student Association, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 7 p.m., to 9 p.m., in the ballroom of the Student Activities Center.

· A Department of Campus Life-hosted program, entitled "Immigration: Helpful or Hurtful to America?" which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 6 p.m., to 7 p.m., in the ballroom of the Student Activities Center.