Latino Town Hall & Day of the Dead Press Event

Maegan Castleton Stories

By: Jason Carrillo, Edited By: MCA Team

At the culmination of Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month, the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs (MCA) was honored to host the state’s first Latino Town Hall! This event brought together Utah’s incredibly diverse Latin American community into a single unifying space, where all Utahns alike celebrated the cultures, resilience, and contributions of our state’s largest multicultural population.

Held at Salt Lake Community College’s (SLCC) South City Campus, the event featured dynamic performances, catering, and tabling from organizations representing communities ranging from Mexico, to Venezuela, to Argentina. The unique traditions, cuisines, and styles of dance showcased at the event emphasized that the Latinx community is not a monolith, but rather a diverse and ever changing population united through shared languages, histories, and lived experiences.

The conversation with Gov. Spencer Cox was moderated by MCA’s own director, and Utah’s Senior Advisor on Equity and Opportunity, Nubia Peña. Translated into Spanish by two interpreters, the governor and director engaged in dialogue led by questions gathered in community surveys. Education, healthcare, and inclusivity were all discussed as Gov. Cox acknowledged the significant economic and social impacts that Latinx Utahns have contributed to the state since (and before) its founding.   

Everybody wants their kids and grandkids to have an opportunity to grow up here, to have a life better than we had… That’s the American dream, and that’s the Utah dream.

Gov. Spencer J. Cox

Day of the Dead Press Event

MCA closed its celebration of Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month with a public commemoration of Día de los Muertos. A Latin American holiday with Indigenous roots, Day of the Dead originated in central Mexico, and has been celebrated in one form or another for over 3,000 years. The cultural journey of this holiday from the highlands of the valley of Mexico to the peaks of the Wasatch Front serves as a testament to the resilience and resolve of our Latinx population.

Day of the Dead remembers the lives of friends, families, communities, and ancestors through celebrating and honoring their image and memories. The Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs believes that Día de los Muertos doesn’t have to be exclusive to one community, rather all Utahns can find commonality in the process of loss, and this shared experience has the potential to motivate intercultural understanding, respect, and humility across an ever-diversifying Utah.

These holidays are not just for one community; they’re for all Utahns… This is a unified way of coming together to celebrate what many of us have experienced: a loss of a loved one.”

Nubia Peña, Director of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs

Thank you to SLCC and all our partners in making the Latino Town Hall and Day of the Dead Press Event such successes! These events invite dialogue and education across our multicultural communities, which takes us one step closer to building a more equitable Utah!