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Hispanic Heritage Month celebration featured published alumna

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Juliana   Aragon-Fatula reads from one of her published works
Juliana Aragon-Fatula reads from one of her published works

Mexican music accompanied by the voice of a “Crazy Chicana” filled Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Occhiato University Center Ballroom as students and guests celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month.

Juliana Aragon-Fatula, poet and screenwriter, read from her poetry collection “Crazy Chicana in Catholic City” and also from other literary works on Wednesday Oct. 7 at the Hispanic Heritage Month Dinner.

The dinner was held by student activities in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month which began on Sept. 15 and ended Oct. 15, said student events coordinator, Kellie Close.

Close said the dinner allowed students to have an opportunity to learn outside the classroom in an enlightening way.

Juliana Aragon-Fatula was recommended as a guest speaker by Fawn Amber Montoya, Chicano studies coordinator, and Close said they chose Aragon-Fatula because she would represent a positive Hispanic image for CSU-Pueblo students.

Guests were welcomed to the dinner with an appetizer of chips and salsa to enjoy as they mingled, while Mariachi music played over the ballroom speakers. Dinner was provided through a buffet line of steak fajitas and chicken enchilada casserole with sides of pico de gallo, guacamole and sliced limes.

While guests began to dine on coffee and deserts, Montoya introduced Aragon-Fatula with a summary of her biography and past accomplishments, including accomplishments made at CSU-Pueblo while she was a student.

Close said they had anticipated having 200 guests but there were only 150 people in attendance, some of whom left before.

“I love, love, love CSU-Pueblo.” Aragon-Fatula said during her opening speech.

She said she graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in creative writing and she spoke of her experiences at the college and how supportive the staff was while she attended.

As a proud alumna of CSU-Pueblo who is always willing to give presentations at the university as well as attend other events there, Aragon-Fatula said she was excited to have been invited.

“I just want to stay here and be a life-time student.” Aragon-Fatula said during her presentation.

Aragon-Fatula became an accomplished poet shortly after she graduated, by having her first poetry collection, “Crazy Chicana in Catholic City,” published by Ghost Road Press in May 2009.

It was a miracle she said and she owes all her accomplishments to her mentor Juan Morales, an assistant professor in the English department at CSU-Pueblo and David Keplinger, director of creative writing at American University.

During Aragon-Fatula’s presentation, she read several pieces from three different publications: the Hungry Eye literary magazine, (currently known as the Tempered Steel); “Open Windows Three,” a poetry anthology; and “Crazy Chicana in Catholic City.”

As one may tell from her poetry collection’s title, Aragon-Fatula is a positive and lively person who showed her personal qualities during her poetry readings with quick hand gestures and voice variation for characters. Her animation to the poetry help to kept many people engaged in her presentation.

The poems Aragon-Fatula presented reflected her Hispanic culture with uses of Spanish words and poems dedicated to expanding old traditions. Her poems also incorporated stories of her family.

One poem she read, “el dia de los muertos,” was written about her father’s tortillas, and another poem, “Bloody Cookies,” was based on her mother having a bullet shot through her legs.

In addition to writing, Aragon-Fatula said she is also a full time teacher of language arts at the Canon City Middle School in Canon City, Colo.

She closed her presentation by reading a quote from the poem “La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” from the poetry collection “Borderlands,” written by her favorite writer, Gloria Anzaldua.

– I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, White. I will have my serpent’s tongue- I will overcome the tradition of silence.