By Dania Jumpa, Staff Writer
Latinx American Leadership Organization, also called LALO, is a club on campus that works to promote and empower the Latinx culture on campus and in the Wichita community. However, many have never known it as LALO until now, but as HALO. This semester, the board and the president of HALO, Isabel Ricoy-Ramirez, saw that it was time for a switch.
What’s significant about changing from HALO to LALO? According to Ricoy-Ramirez, it is all about inclusion.
Ricoy-Ramirez is of Guatemalan and Mexican descent and was a member of HALO before being elected to the position of president. She gives credit to HALO for encouraging her to feel proud of her cultural roots. It was for this reason, Ricoy-Ramirez said that she believed the name needed to change.
She said that to many the word Hispanic felt that “it referred to one part of the Latinx community.”
She said that she wants more people to join and become involved in all Spanish-speaking countries, so they agreed on the word Latino. Ricoy-Ramirez said that there was one more problem. Spanish does not have gender-neutral words. It was either the feminine version Latina or the masculine version Latino. Unanimously, they decided that the last letter of the word would be replaced by an x to show even greater acceptance of all genders.
The club’s mission has broadened and has plans that are bigger than just Newman’s campus for the future. Isabel said that the club’s “goal is to expand it, not just expand it to the Newman community, but the Wichita community. Our job is not only to represent our school but represent the future students that will want to come here. We want to make sure that they have a name, a voice, and also are motivated to get involved.”
Ricoy-Ramirez noticed that many times Latinos shy away from their culture or forget to embrace who they are. She said that it took getting to college to help her realize that she was proud of her identity as a Latino and a part of the Newman community.
LALO is planning a trip to Chicago in February for the 37th annual United States Hispanic Leadership Institute Conference and will be holding a fundraising event on Nov. 29.