Statement from the Latinx House at Brown University

We, organizers and members of the Latinx House, write this statement to share with the Brown University community, the mission and values of the newly-established Latinx House, as well as  to introduce the history of its creation.

To preface this statement, we would like to bring awareness to our different understandings and definitions of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latinx identities. We understand each identity through the following broad definitions:

  • Spanish: A national term for the people and language of Spain.
  • Hispanic: People of Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry. A sense of community through a connection to Spain. This does not include Brazil and other countries who do not affiliate with Spanish culture or the Spanish language.
  • Latinx: People of Latin American and Caribbean origin or ancestry with a shared history of colonization. Latinx is the gender-inclusive alternative to Latino, Latina and even Latin@, used in order to disrupt the gender binary.
  • More information on these definitions can be found here.

We believe that the distinction(s) between these identities emphasize the need for a space that services Latinx folks, a space where they can engage with these different definitions while validating other identities.

Because the Latinx House is located in Machado House, along with the Spanish and French Houses, conversations about the Latinx House have been centered on its relation to the Spanish House. While important conversations have come up concerning these issues, we believe that it is most constructive to center the conversation on our own goals and mission as the Latinx House begins to fully take shape.

The goals for the Latinx House are:

  • To meet the need for a space where Latinx-identifying people can comfortably explore, recognize, and celebrate aspects of their identity/identities,
  • To cultivate a space where Latinx students can grapple with the tensions and contradictions of Latinidad and the Latinx identity,
  • To provide a space where collaboration and solidarity between Latinx and non-Latinx students can occur, especially around social and cultural issues,
  • To hold Latinx cultural events that promote respectful and responsible forms of cultural-sharing with the entire Brown community, and
  • To host campus-wide educational events concerning issues encountered by the Latinx community at Brown and beyond

At the core of all these goals is to create an intentional space where we can responsibly center the Latinx identity–in any way that individual house members choose to define ‘Latinx’ for themselves. We are unapologetic in our resistance to systems of oppression, and we are committed to the celebration of Latinx identities.

We intend to establish a community where difficult, yet important, conversations about Latinx identity can take place. In that vein, we recognize the need to acknowledge our histories of Spanish, French, Portuguese, and British colonization, the enslavement of Black and Indigenous bodies, the indentured servitude of Asian bodies, and the genocide of Indigenous populations. Addressing these histories is critical because they continue to structure privilege and oppression within our communities.In recognition of our central goal: to create a space where Latinx students can feel comfortable celebrating aspects of their identities, we have chosen not to identify with the colonizers. Instead, we choose to celebrate our Afro, Asian, and Indigenous heritages.

As a final point, we understand that some students may still feel excluded from the ‘Latinx’ term and/or identity. We acknowledge that adopting this complex term for this house is hurtful to certain people, especially for those who have been historically marginalized by and excluded from Latinx-identifying spaces. We recognize and validate these painful experiences. Yet, we also want to emphasize that this exclusion is exactly what we are attempting to address and grapple with through the creation of this house. We want to have these pivotal discussions to create a more inclusive, thoughtful, and conscientious community. Through much love, we hope to provide a residential space where people can heal and grow together.

Edited by Sebastian Castro-Niculescu.

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