On Thursday, March 30, Winsor’s Latinx affinity group SOMOS presented to the school during assembly and explored the Latinx legacy at Winsor.
The process of outlining and finalizing aspects of this presentation took a lot of time and collaboration from members of SOMOS and we are all very proud of how the product turned out! SOMOS has been aiming to create an assembly for a while, so being able to fully create, schedule, and present was a great accomplishment.
Because most affinity groups present assemblies around times in which their respective cultures are either being celebrated or are celebrating a holiday, SOMOS often deals with the challenge of wanting to share a part of ourselves during times of the year in which there are no particular events or months dedicated to Latino culture. Though we have wanted to create assemblies to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), the difficulty lies in how early it is in the school year, meaning that being able to find an assembly time within the month, trying to find a consensus on what we would like to share to the school about us, and going through the process of planning, that deadline is very challenging. Despite this barrier, we were still eager to share a part of ourselves with the school, so we agreed to put in extra effort to create an assembly that is relevant to SOMOS and Winsor any time of the year.
The process of outlining the SOMOS assembly during lunch meetings was a bit challenging, as the group collectively wanted to find a balance between working on this project and using our limited time in SOMOS to relax with other Latinx students. So, in the very beginning, broad ideas about possible assembly themes and activities were thrown out, including a presentation debunking common misconceptions about Cinco de Mayo, a Kahoot! trivia game, and more. We were also inspired by past assemblies from Winsor’s other affinity groups such as Sisters (a space to affirm black students' sense of racial identity), AsIAm (an affinity group for students of Asian descent to build community), and SASA (the South Asian Student Alliance for students who identify as South Asian). We hoped that we could land on fun and original ideas that were as informative and as interesting as past assemblies given by affinity groups.
Ultimately, we decided the best idea for an assembly would be to center it around Latinx students at Winsor and our experiences over time. We chose this topic because, when considering why we would even want an assembly in the first place, it became clear that one of the main issues we face as Latinas at Winsor is feeling that our perspective is overlooked in our community. What’s more, our experiences at Winsor as Latinx students is a topic that frequently comes up during SOMOS meetings—oftentimes, we listen to and share not only the perspectives of current students, but also of faculty and alums. Though the voices we hear may be different, we ultimately share a lot of the same struggles, despite age and background. Because this has been such a significant and personal topic within our group, talking about it to the school has been a huge step towards progress and feeling more represented in our community.
Now that we had the theme for our assembly, the next step was to figure out how to present this information in an effective manner. We decided that, along with a slideshow, which all SOMOS members worked on in groups, we would make the main component of the presentation a panel featuring past Latinx alumnae, as well as current Latinx students. Our goal with the alumnae panel was to share Latinx perspectives at Winsor over time to try and inform others on our existence at this school throughout the years. Additionally, we wanted to include something more fun and lighthearted, so SOMOS leaders Valeria Gil ’23 and Melissa Gutierrez ’23 also choreographed a dance (pictured) that showcased many different kinds of Latinx dance and music, such as salsa, bachata, Brazilian funk, and more. Members who participated in this dance found it very fun to not only share music and dances from their cultures, but also to share in other Latinx cultures as well!
Overall, SOMOS is very thankful that our assembly was able to successfully materialize, and we are also very thankful to our advisors and to the leaders of SOMOS who worked very hard to make the group’s vision a reality. In the future, we are hoping to share our perspectives and cultures in Winsor and beyond with more ease and, of course, more fun. Next year or beyond, for example, thanks to efforts made by Maia Monteagudo ’06—a Winsor counselor, SOMOS advisor, and Class of 2006 alum—a SOMOS presentation during Hispanic Heritage Month may become a reality! This is just one of the possibilities for our affinity group moving into the future, and we hope that we can continue to create a positive legacy for Latinx Winsor students moving forward.