Merrimack Student Group to Mark National Hispanic Heritage Month

The annual Latinx Showcase was organized this year by ALMA’s new president, Yasmin Davis ‘25, and vice president, Jessica Barra ‘24.
ALMA's president, Yasmin Davis ‘25, and vice president, Jessica Barra ‘24, met when working as Unity House coordinators.

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, at Merrimack College will feature a marquee event from one of the College’s most prolific student organizations, the Association of Latinos Moving Ahead.

The annual Latinx Showcase was slated to take place before Merrimack’s football game on Sept. 16, but was postponed due to forecasted inclement weather. 

ALMA leadership is currently working to find a new date for the event, which will feature a performance by Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts, a Lawrence-based community group dedicated to preserving Dominican folkloric traditions.

“(ACM) will showcase a little bit about the carnival culture, specifically in the Dominican Republic,” explained Yasmin Davis ’25, ALMA’s new president. “The type of costumes they wear are called diablos cojuelos (limping devil) and it’s very traditional in Dominican culture.” 

The showcase, spearheaded by Davis and ALMA vice president, Jessica Barra ’24, will also have a photo station with a backdrop featuring multiple Latinx flags and a make-your-own carnival mask craft station.

Davis was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican Republic. After eighth grade, she moved to Lawrence, learned English and enrolled at Lawrence High School.  

Last year, Davis joined ALMA as the secretary on the group’s executive board. 

“I loved being together on the E-board, seeing how we were all Hispanic and sharing that experience,” she said. “I didn’t even know I was going to learn so much about organizing events, how to write up a contract (and) how having the right conversations can get an event on campus.”  

As president, Yasmin’s first plan of action was to find a vice president. Luckily, over the summer, she got to know Barra through their work as Unity House coordinators. 

“We were talking about it over the summer while we were in leadership training,” Barra explained. “She told me about the position and I was open to it. It worked out really well. I felt I would be a good vice president.”

Barra moved from Brazil to Nashua, New Hampshire when she was six years old. Her grandparents own and operate Sabor Brasil, a successful Brazilian restaurant in town. Barra’s immediate family later moved to Lowell, which she considers her second home.  

“We haven’t yet explored (Brazilian culture) as much in ALMA,” Barra said. “I have some exciting plans for the spring and I’m also hoping to find the community of Brazilians here through ALMA, through these events and getting the community together.”

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