Kurt Huxel

Onda Latina Ohio wishes to send support to the Ohio State University community in the wake of terrifying violence that took place on campus yesterday. In the face of great sadness, we hope that you take refuge in the people who offer you understanding, in the community of kin and kindred spirits. Onda Latina Ohio is an initiative that hopes to promote a safer space for shared celebrations and vulnerabilities, a digital and social home to help curb some of the isolation of being Latinx in Ohio.

The following piece was written by Kurt Huxel, a graduate student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at OSU. He attended LASER’s 2nd Sõl-Con this fall, and provides remarks and observations about the event, both as an ally and friend to Latinx cultural production in the Columbus region.   We thank Kurt for his cultural border crossing!


Latina Comix in Focus at OSU!

On October 13-16th, OSU hosted the 2nd Sõl-Con: The Brown and Black Comix Expo, celebrating Latinx and African American artists from across the country. The three-day event featured discussion panels with the artists who advocated for minority expos, the brown and black lives matter movements, and the movement of diversity from the margins to the center. Guest Bill Campbell concluded one of the panels by stating that it is an “exciting time to be in America. Culture doesn’t know what to do with itself. We have an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and represent ourselves in it.”

Among those fighting for cultural visibility and inclusion are Latina artists. At this year’s Latino Comics Expo, co-founded by Ricardo Padilla, Latinas could claim a larger showing of artists than their male counterparts for the first time in history. Rosa Padilla, Ricardo’s wife, stated that many of the Latinas have found comics to be a medium through which they are able to share their own personal stories.

One Sõl-Con Latina artist, Liz Mayorga, displayed her book Bread & Butter, an account of a day in the life of a Latina working in a restaurant. Liz’ work draws you into an understanding of the challenges Latinas face on a regular basis, whether through aggressive comments, actions, stereotypes, or internal anxieties. Sharing her story brings awareness not only to the struggles Latinas face, but the effects of our actions on others, intended or not. It is not a request for pity, but an expression of strength in the face of everyday trials that often go unnamed.

While the Latino Comics Expo is proud to have become a more inclusive forum for women, there is still work to be done with overcoming the exclusion of the LGBT community. Rosa Padilla stated that prejudice against LGBT has long been rooted in Latino culture, but that it is slowly starting to melt away. While few openly LGBT Latino artists participated in this year’s Latino Comics Expo, they faced minimal overt criticism. She estimated a 75% acceptance rate of Latino LGBT artists, and they are hoping to continue to grow LGBT involvement in the expo and counter the anti-LGBT culture in the Latino community.

As Bill Campbell stated, this is an exciting time: through the medium of comics, historically underserved groups are imagining and activating a more inclusive national landscape. Sõl-Con was a lively and timely event that showed the importance of communal voice and the power of culture.