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‘Beautiful,’ ‘important,’ ‘judgment-free’: Students reflect on experiences in SOMOS Magazine

Members note importance of Latinx cultural representation, inclusivity on campus

<p>The cover of SOMOS&#x27;s Spring 2023 issue is depicted. SOMOS accepts submissions from a wide variety of art forms ranging from illustrations to poetry and spoken word pieces before compiling around 30 works in their publication every semester.</p><p>Courtesy of Britney Garibay</p>

The cover of SOMOS's Spring 2023 issue is depicted. SOMOS accepts submissions from a wide variety of art forms ranging from illustrations to poetry and spoken word pieces before compiling around 30 works in their publication every semester.

Courtesy of Britney Garibay

Coming to Brown, Meilyn Farina ’26, a Herald copy editor, knew she was interested in journalism and writing. 

At the University’s fall activities fair her freshman year, she stumbled upon SOMOS Latinx Literary Magazine — a magazine where Latinx students at Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design can express themselves through art and written work.

“I was in that section of the Main Green and then I saw a Latinx magazine,” said Farina, now an English language editor for SOMOS and copy editor for The Herald. “(SOMOS) combines two parts of my identity, so I might as well sign up,” she recalled thinking.

Like Farina, SOMOS Design Editor Luca Suarez ’26 viewed the organization as an opportunity to combine his interests, but he also underscored the significance of cultural representation.

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“I came from a high school that didn’t have a lot of people of color, especially not other Hispanic students,” Suarez said. “Coming to Brown, I decided that it would be a good opportunity to not only connect with other Hispanic and Latinx students but also to see if there was a group that fosters creativity in the arts and writing.”

SOMOS accepts submissions in a variety of different art forms, ranging from illustrations to poetry to spoken word pieces, according to Suarez. Members then review submissions and curate a collection of around 30 works to include in their publication each semester.

“The majority of the submissions are from Latinx students, but what that means can vary wildly,” Suarez said, noting that submissions have come in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

“We have people from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico submitting, and people who are struggling to maintain their identities within communities in the United States,” Farina said. “I don’t think there’s one central theme that everyone’s touching on (but rather) a lot of breadth,” she added, citing themes like familial relations, romance and oppression.

For SOMOS Editor-in-Chief Alexia Sánchez ’26, art allows individuals to express themselves however they see fit. 

“There may be something that you might not be able to convey by speaking or sharing (ideas) out loud,” she said in an interview with The Herald.

For Farina, art also allows members of the Latinx community to appreciate their culture and cultivate a sense of pride in their identities.

“I had never really engaged with my Latinx identity before coming to Brown,” Farina said. But (SOMOS) “provided me with a space to be grateful for that side of me, and I really needed that,” she said. “It’s important to have a visual aspect of your culture so it can be preserved and you can express your work and passions to a larger audience.”

That audience is broad, Sanchez added: “You don’t need to be Latinx to appreciate Latinx art.”

Sánchez believes that SOMOS serves as a necessary and inclusive space for students who choose to share their work and interpret the works of others.

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“(SOMOS) is a space that is sacred and needs to be preserved,” she said. “It’s so beautiful getting to hear everyone else’s point of view.” 

SOMOS, she said, is “a judgment-free outlet where you get to be who you are.”

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Aniyah Nelson

Aniyah Nelson is a University News editor overseeing the undergraduate student life beat. She is a junior from Cleveland, Ohio concentrating in political science and sociology. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and watching bloopers from The Office.



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