PHOTO: RBR’s Multicultural Club students presented a memorable celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month. They are pictured here with RBR Superintendent Dr. Louis Moore, Event Key-note speaker Randy Archibold, Deputy Sports Editor of the NY Times, Multi-club advisors Gabriela Castro and Keith Savarese.
LITTLE SILVER, NJ - On, October 12. Red Bank Regional (RBR) Multicultural Club students hosted a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with attention to the diversity of Hispanic culture. Advisers to the club Gabriela Castro and Keith Savarese were instrumental in bringing the program to fruition. Julie Flores-Castillo and Charleen Turrubiarte greeted their fellow students in both English and Spanish stating, “When we speak of Hispanic and Latino Heritage, we speak of a rich, diverse culture. This culture extends from Mexico to El Salvador, from Puerto Rico to DR, from Panama to the United States of America.”
Guest speaker, Randy Archibold, Deputy Sports Editor of the New York Times exemplified that diversity. A child immigrant from Panama, his grandparents were also immigrants from the West Indies attracted to work on the Panama Canal at the turn of the 20th century. His family followed the typical immigrant’s dream coming to America for a better life. They emigrated to NYC and settled in Monmouth, County, NJ. There he attended Rutgers University and befriended his fellow student journalist, RBR’s Superintendent Dr. Louis Moore who worked together on the college newspaper. After college, he studied in Panama to learn more about his Hispanic roots. His dream of becoming an international journalist culminated with his ascension to The New York Times as bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, based in Mexico City. He wrote a lot current issues including drugs and gangs but also about the regions rich culture.
PHOTO: Hispanic Heritage Assembly Keynote Speaker was NY Times Deputy Sports Editor Randy Archibold.
He stated, “I dug a lot deeper into their culture there, particularly the African-Mexican population of 1.3 million which is often overlooked.”
He returned to New York to take the position of the Deputy Editor of the Sports Desk and covered international sporting events including the Olympics as well sports related social issues including concussion suffered in sports and the NFL controversy regarding Colin Kaepernick.
He told the students, “The message I want you to take away is to keep your minds open. School is all about opening our minds and to realize that Hispanic Heritage is as rich and varied as anything else.”
Red Bank Regional also showcases Hispanic culture with the talented performances of their Visual & Performing Arts Academy. This year the dance majors did a lively ensemble to Jennifer Lopez’ hit song Lets Get Loud. RBR string majors performed “Romanza" a traditional Spanish folk song. Creative writing majors featured original poems. One poem was called “Untitled (Poemo sin TIiulo) by a RBR graduate. After which, the huge screen descended upon the auditorium with a giant projection of RBR Freshman Jonathan Hernandez performing his poem untitled, “What I Saw.” In this emotional work, Jonathan sets in rhymes the horrific reality he experienced in his home country of El Salvador. Piano solos were performed by piano majors Margaret Mullaney played “Andalusia Playera” by Granados and Christopher Hall performed Malaguena by Lecouna. The RBR Chamber Choir sang “Oye” (“Listen up”) by Jim Papoulis.
The RBR first year drama students then performed Souls Pain, the original work of sophomore and student playwright Theo Gerty. Her script was performed by an ensemble of students detailing vignettes of Spanish-American challenges in America from the violence perpetrated against Hispanics in the 1840s to raids and deportations of even legal residents in the 1950s. While much progress has been made, they explained that discrimination and suffering still exists as evidenced by the shocking new policy of family separations initiated by our government.
Student actors stated, “54 million Latinos live in the US and even though they are the largest minority in the US, they aren’t treated that way. Lynchings, repatriation programs and school segregation are in the past, but discrimination is far from over. I stand here in front of all of you to tell you that WE could be responsible for that change. This is why we’re doing this. This is why we have marches, and protests, people getting together to end racism. We’re next --the next voters, politicians, and presidents. We’re the next teachers, actors, and scientists. We have the opportunity to change so much. We need to take it.”
PHOTO: RBR VPA dance majors
Multicultural students had stated in their greeting to their fellow students a challenge, “We would like to conclude by challenging each individual in this room. We want to challenge you to reach out to someone from a different cultural background and make a real effort to learn something new from your new friend.”