A successful Georgetown experience entails transforming the Hilltop into a “home away from home.” Yet this task has been particularly cumbersome for those who identify as underrepresented minorities.
Fortunately, the activism of the Latino Leadership Forum — whose recent sit-in and presentation of a petition to University President John J. DeGioia’s office called for the creation of a permanent home for Georgetown’s Latino community — advances the attainment of this goal.
To foster the Latino community and the plurality of experiences on campus, the university must work to create a Casa Latina as soon as possible.
Rather than further displacing the Latino students who have housed themselves so far in temporary spaces, including themed Magis Row houses, or within the Black House, the university should take explicit steps to create the Casa Latina.
The current sharing of Black House between Black and Latino students diminishes the importance of the space for the black community by pooling multiple minority groups under its roof.
Furthermore, the creation of a Latino affinity space on campus is not without a strong precedent. Since 1970, the Black House has been alongstanding Georgetown institution and has demonstrated its commitment to facilitating intersectional dialogue while simultaneously providing a safe space for its membership.
A Casa Latina would be another space that would be at the forefront of the university’s ongoing dialogue about race and privilege at Georgetown and in the United States.
With Casa Latina, the university has the opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to creating a designated space for its Latino population, while promoting engagement by all Georgetown students with Latino heritage and current issues.
This is a noble cause for a university whose priorities lie in the development of the whole person, whocannot develop, without a place to call home.
Georgetown should be able to pride itself in the fact that, despite one’s socioeconomic status, ethnicity or religion, any Hoya can find a home on campus.
Without the Casa Latina, the university forfeits its claim to plurality, and inadvertently denies a group a space to develop their cultural identity.
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