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On Friday, Tomasso expects Cruz’s identity to resonate just as much as the actual contents of her speech.
“It’s about what she represents,” Tomasso said. “A big part of our mission in LASO is empowering the Latino culture on campus, and that’s definitely what Jackie Cruz will be doing just by showing up.”
Moya Bailey, a Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, thinks showcasing minorities on TV and in films is thefirst step in enacting meaningful change.
“Representation of marginalized groups in popular culture is important,” she said in an email to The News. “Nichelle Nichols often speaks out about wanting to quit ‘Star Trek’ after the first season, but Martin Luther King Jr. persuaded her to stay on the show because it meant so much for black people to see a black person on television. That said, representation is a tool. Having Latinas on ‘Orange is the New Black’doesn’t undo the militarization of the US/Mexico border, nor stop deportation. It can help create cultural shifts, but it is not enough on its own to undo systemic oppression.”
Besides showcasing Hispanic culture, LASO hopes the event, which has been in the works since April, will boost the club’s profile on campus. When the event’s Facebook page garnered 500 attendees in less than six hours, club officials were almost in disbelief.
“We are so excited with the student body’s reaction [to the event] because LASO doesn’t have that much recognition to begin with,” said Tomasso. “A club meeting with 20 or 30 people is actually a good turnout for us.”
Events of the magnitude of Cruz’s visit are crucial in making clubs stand out, Tomasso thinks, in part because of the ever-increasing number of cultural groups on campus. This semester, the Center for Student Involvement lists 36 organizations under its International & Culturalcategory.
“There are all these clubs out there, so it’s becoming really hard to stand out,” Tomasso said. “That’s why this event is important to us. It will help us make our mark on campus. It will make our voices heard.”
Cruz’s visit was sponsored by the Student Activity Fee. Students can get free tickets for the event on myNEU.
Photo courtesy Orange is the New Black/Instagram/@oitnb