Hispanic Heritage Month: Elio Velazquez

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Elio Velazquez

Class: Junior

Major: Business Administration with a concentration in International Business

Minor: Philosophy, Global Studies, and Economics

On campus I am the Deputy of Civic Engagement for the Student Government Association, I am the Diversity chair for the ARCO club, I was the Public Relations chair for the Zeta Psi Fraternity, and I am a choreographer teaching bachata and salsa through Dance Ensemble. Being a Puerto Rican from the Bronx, NY is a huge part of my identity that I am proud to be able to recognize and represent at Marist. To me being a hispanic means I am unique because I am multi-ethnic and represent the mix of people from all over the world. There is so much to learn about history through the roots of my culture. We have a deep history that stems back to slavery and is highly reflected in our customs and ways of being. We have so many ways of life, food, traditions, and spices that come from the Caribbean islands. Yet people typically overlook how and why we developed certain traditions and customs. For instance, our music is often recognized for its passion, romance, and loving vibes, but there is so much more than meets the eye. Our music within itself embodies deep reflections of our ancestors past. Merengue is Spanish style dance known for its fast pace two step movement; this dance was created by our African ancestors who were enslaved by the Spanish and chained by their arms and legs. On their spare time, they would stomp and dance in place while they sang to the god(s) with our Native American ancestors creating the Marenge style of Spanish dance. Because of this, I am proud to not only be hispanic, but to be able to teach others how to embrace these styles of dance, where I can appreciate and acknowledge my ancestors for their sacrifice by living out their traditions and customs.

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