Members of Amigos and EBONI gather for a night of food and festivities


Roe Medovoi-Klotz

Students enjoying Noche de Reggaeton.

By Roe Medovoi-Klotz

On Wednesday evening, Emerson students gathered in the lobby of 172 Tremont for Reggaeton, a night of dancing, music, and food to kick off Hispanic Heritage month.

The event was hosted by Amigos, a student-led multicultural organization with the mission of bringing Latin and Hispanic culture onto campus, and Emerson’s Black Organization With Natural Interest (EBONI), an organization dedicated to uplifting the African American student community at Emerson. Senior year student and writing, literature and publishing major Ana Maria Pineda-Gonzalez, the president of Amigos, helped plan the event.

“Our mission overall is to provide a safety net, just be there for Latino students,” she said. “I know a lot of our members come from the Caribbean or Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic. We even have some from South America, like Colombia, Venezuela.” 

Pineda-Gonzalez is hosting events like these to encourage students with Hispanic and Latin backgrounds to socialize and learn about each other’s cultures. She hopes events like Noche de Reggaeton will instill a sense of community.

EBONI co-hosted the event, gathering over 20 students. The organization’s co-presidents Summer Stokes and Diogo Fernandez Tavares, both juniors majoring in journalism, provided insight about EBONI’s mission on campus.

“We’re here today for fellowship, for that communication of Black people to build networks…and a separate community here at Emerson,” Stokes said. 

She mentioned that EBONI was established over 50 years ago, and is one of Emerson’s longest remaining student-led organizations. The group’s mission has remained consistent over the years.  

“I want to serve all my students here,” Fernandez Tavares said. “I want [Emerson students] to be comfortable being Black. In a difficult place to be anything of color…we’re here to be an asset.” 

Pineda-Gonzales joined Amigos after moving to Boston from Glendale, CA. At Emerson, she immediately noticed things were radically different from her hometown. Barely any Spanish was spoken on campus, apart from the occasional sentences that she heard in the dining halls or at El Jefe’s Taqueria. She also felt Emerson did little to honor and acknowledge her culture.

Amid the “culture shock” of moving across the country, Pineda-Gonzales said Amigos gave her a sense of inclusion and belonging when she needed it most. 

“Even though I’m so far away from home, so far away from my own community, I know that I still have these people that are supporting me,” she said.

EBONI Co-President Summer Stoked shared a similar story as Pineda-Gonzalez, about her experience as a Black student attending a predominantly white institution. 

“Coming from a school that was mainly black and brown to here, it was kind of a culture shock for me,” she said. “So I really wanted to try and find my people…and being a part of that legacy was really important for me.”

EBONI is working to create a diverse and inclusive environment for Black students who may feel otherwise alienated at school.

“Our goal is really just to get more people involved at in-person events,” Stokes said. “And I think it really worked out. People are excited to be coming this semester.” 

In addition to providing a community for students, Pineda-Gonzalez hopes to take Amigo’s influence beyond Emerson and is encouraging the group to branch out into community service. She plans to host a fundraiser in the upcoming weeks to raise money and provide relief for citizens in the Caribbean who have been devastated by the effects of Hurricane Fiona. 

“This semester, we are trying to change it up a bit. We don’t want to be just seen as other social organizations,” she said. “We’re just trying to be diverse with everything that we do.” 

Amigos hopes to gather more students in the coming months. The group’s intention, Pineda-Gonzalez said, is to expand its network and support Latinx students on campus. Like Amigos, EBONI hopes to expand its network around campus and beyond, and to create an uplifting community. 

Some of EBONI’s upcoming events include a Halloween party on Oct. 21, a bi-monthly book club, and a Marvel Movies Black Panther screening in November. The organization also holds weekly milk and cookie nights every Tuesday evening. Amigos will continue hosting social events throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts until Oct. 15. These events include weekly movie nights, Salsa dance classes, and a celebration altar for Dia de los Muertos.