A Show and Tell: Cafecito con Leche Fall 2023
By Madeleine Cerone
October 3, 2023
The DMC’s programming team, Taliyah James and Emily Boviero, organize a monthly event called Cafecito. Cafecito, although Hispanic in name, has been an avenue to bring people from all different marginalized communities together to spark intellectual conversations about intersectional identity, privilege, ability and success. Some past guests have included Sonia Martinez, Teena Fitzroy, Neal Powless and Chef Kuukua Yomekpe. Each Cafecito event aims to educate, inspire, and spark conversation about how race, sex, gender, ethnicity and ability intersect in each and every one of us, daily.
This past week, Taliyah and Emily brought Maria Genao-Homs, Hamilton College’s Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, to the DMC to share the story of her family. Students were also encouraged to share something of theirs as a celebration of Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month. El Barajo catered this event with empanadas while students sat around the DMC living room, listening with rapt attention as the special guests shared their hometown, how their study abroad experience brought them closer to their roots, and their family heritage.
Associate Dean Maria Genao-Homs kicked off Cafecito con Leche by sharing some old family pictures with the attendees. As each face passed across the screen Dean Maria spoke their names and gave us their stories. Part of her family is rooted in the mountains of Puerto Rico, but in the 1940’s the first of her relatives left Puerto Rico and moved to Colorado. Specifically, her aunt was the one to leave her job as a nurse and move to the United States for a year. Dean Maria told us, with much pride, that remembering this pilgrimage reminds her of the strength her family had, and of the strength that she, too, possesses. It empowers her to move forward in all that she accomplishes.
Another student shared with us a picture of the mountain in his Brazilian hometown. The picture of this natural beauty was so majestic for all of us, but to him it is a reminder of his family and his childhood. He told us how he would see this grand landmark every time he visited his grandmother’s house to eat her delicious family recipes! Another student shared a handmade woolen coaster from their time studying abroad in southern Mexico. They described their experience celebrating El Dia de los Muertos, and how their time in Mexico strengthened their relationship with their own culture.
Bringing speakers to campus can be challenging and daunting, but Taliyah and Emily are empowered by their role at the DMC. They enjoy providing a different perspective for students on Hamilton’s campus to listen to and build from. “I feel like Hamilton can, at times, be an echo chamber,” Emily mentioned, when I asked about what she enjoys about her work. “Students hear the same messages from the same people about who they can be, and what they can do with their lives. Bringing speakers to campus can break this chamber, and allow students to see themselves in a different light.” Taliyah mentioned that she enjoys providing a different perspective for students as well. “When we bring speakers to campus, they give students a holistic view of their life and of the world through their eyes,” she told me while we sat in the DMC. “This can be enlightening because, a lot of the time, we are only paying attention to our own surroundings and what we have been exposed to.”
Although each Cafecito addresses issues within specific identities, Taliyah and Emily want people from all walks of life to participate in these discussions. “Everyone is invited. We encourage everyone to come, regardless of the specific marginalized identity we are celebrating.”
Please watch your emails at the end of this month for the announcement of the next Cafecito event!