Students prepare to host all-Ivy Latinx conference

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“#YoTambién: I, Too, Am Latinx” is the theme of a gathering that will bring approximately 100 students to the Yale campus April 7-9 to participate in the sixth annual Latinx Ivy League Conference. The conference will highlight the “x” in Latinx by amplifying the voices of those who are most marginalized, including indigenous, LGBTQ, Afro-Latinx, and undocumented members of the community.

Students will participate in interactive workshops, panels, and celebratory events, culminating in an April 8 dinner recognizing the achievements of Latinx students and leaders across the country. The dinner will include performances by several of Yale’s Latinx groups.

The conference “provides a platform to collectively amplify our voices and establish our presence more firmly as Latinx students in higher education,” said Israel Tovar ’17 of Ezra Stiles College, a co-coordinator of the event. “Through this conference, we can continue la lucha (the struggle) for liberation and justice not only in higher education but across the United States. I am ecstatic to welcome an extraordinary group of Latinx students and leaders to Yale’s campus.”

In addition to other Ivy League institutions, for the second consecutive year the conference will include students from Wellesley, Wesleyan, Vassar, and Williams, plus local students from the University of New Haven and Gateway Community College. Each participating institution is sending 10 delegates, with an additional 30 Yale students participating in panels and other events throughout the weekend. Approximately 60 Yale students will host conference guests on campus.

Thematic sessions on April 8 will address gender and LGBTQ issues, immigration, Afro-Latinx identity, the arts, mental health, and the immigrant experience in New Haven.

Co-coordinator Viviana Arroyo ’18 of Morse College said she hopes the conference will forge a sense of solidarity among students from various campuses, where they face similar challenges. It also will highlight why it is a good time to be Latinx at Yale, she added.

“I hope the conference allows diverse voices and experiences from our communities to be highlighted, giving an important platform for voices that are often marginalized,” Arroyo said.  “I hope students are able to learn from our events and speakers — but also from each other — and form connections with students from other backgrounds.”

The conference will occur the same weekend as the inaugural Yale Latino Alumni Association conference, titled “Advocacy in Action.” The timing of the two events will allow students, guests, and alumni to connect and network, said Eileen Galvez, assistant dean of Yale College and director of La Casa Cultural, Yale’s Latino cultural center.

Considering the contentious national political climate, Galvez said, it is “important for us to gather in fellowship and community while tackling some very difficult conversations. While this is a time of change for our country, it also provides opportunity for representation, leadership, and solidarity of a very diverse and talented community of the Latinx diaspora.”

The alumni conference will bring experts in the fields of civil rights, education, media, and grassroots organizing, equipping participants to take action in their respective communities and industries.

In addition to La Casa Cultural, the following organizations are supporting the undergraduate Latinx Ivy League Conference: the Yale College Dean’s Office, Undergraduate Organizations Committee, Yale Women’s Center, LGBTQ Student Cooperative, Afro American Cultural Center, Asian-American Cultural Center, Native American Cultural Center, and Yale Latino Alumni Association.

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