Campus to welcome acclaimed performer for Hispanic Heritage Month event

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Office of Student Life and the Hispanic Organization and Latino Association (HOLA) will welcome acclaimed spoken word artist Carlos Andrés Gómez back to the campus on Wednesday, Sept. 22, as part of the annual observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept.15–Oct. 15.

Members of the campus community are encouraged to attend Gómez’s talk at 12:15 p.m. in room 135.

Carlos Andres Gomez on left and Juan Martinez on right.

Spoken word artist Carlos Andres Gomez, at right, will appear at Penn State Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, Sept. 22, as part of the campus' observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Gomez last performed at the campus in 2018, when he met student Juan Martinez, left.

Credit: Pam Fleck

Pam Fleck, assistant director of student affairs, said National Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized at all Penn State campuses. At PSU-LV, she said, “Our goal is to educate, advocate and build awareness, and we want to do that in a few different ways. We’re so glad to share the Hispanic culture with our campus community.”

Hispanic Heritage Month’s origins go back to September 1968, when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, the observance was expanded to a month-long celebration of the history, culture and traditions of people who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

This will be Gómez’s second in-person appearance at PSU-LV. A true genre-hopping multi-hyphenate, the Colombian American poet, speaker and actor is the author of several books, including: “Fractures,” winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry; “Hijito,” winner of the Broken River Prize and a No. 1 SPD bestseller; and the memoir “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood,” released by Penguin Random House. Meanwhile, he has appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and TV One’s “Verses and Flow,” and acted in the Spike Lee film “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington.

Gómez has received a number of awards for his work, among them the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, Foreword INDIES Gold Medal, and the International Book Award for Poetry. He also partnered with John Legend on “Senior Orientation,” a program to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students.

PSU-LV kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month with an interactive display of flags from Hispanic and Latin American countries with descriptions of each, as well as pictures of notable Hispanic figures in entertainment, the arts, sports, education and politics. Students were invited to pin their country of origin on the display’s large wall map and take a quiz on the display, with winners receiving a T-shirt.

In addition, HOLA is working with PSU-LV’s Business Club to hold a panel discussion with members of the Lehigh Valley’s Hispanic business community.

Miyeli Vazquez, president of HOLA, is excited to lead the club this year and said new members and program ideas are welcome. For more information on the group, contact Vazquez at [email protected].

For more information on National Hispanic Heritage Month, visit: