On Monday evening, during question time at a community gathering, Hana Yuisa Vargas rose to speak from a seat in the second tier of the auditorium at Monroe County’s public library.
Vargas said, “My ancestors helped [Christopher Columbus] to survive. We indigenous people, we’ve been helping everyone. White people. African people. Asian people. And we’ve been mistreated and invisible until today. And I’m raising my voice, because today is my day and supposed to be not just one day—supposed to be three hundred and sixty-five days, all my life, every single year.”
Vargas had earlier identified ancestors from the Taino, Mexica, and Apache tribes, as well as the Yoruba nation in West Africa.
It was the second Monday in October, a day that in some places is still called Columbus Day, but recognized this year by President Joe Biden as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Locally, the designation was put on the calendar by Bloomington’s city council two years ago.
The occasion for Vargas’s remarks was the first annual “State of the Latino Community in Monroe County” event. The evening was sponsored by the La Casa/Latino Cultural Center at Indiana University, the city of Bloomington’s Latino programs and outreach, Bloomington’s commission on Hispanic and Latino affairs, and the 9th District Latino Caucus.
Vargas put a question to the panelists: “Why do you generalize the Hispanic or Latino community in general, like it was one community, where in reality it is a division of languages?” Continue reading “First annual Monroe County event: “The complexities of the Latino community are tremendous.””