Dominican independence celebrated

The anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s Independence from Haitian rule was celebrated this past Monday, Feb. 27. The Valencia Latin American Student Organization, or LASO, at the Osceola campus served food and drinks to students going to class between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. They also played music at the front of Osceola campus and displayed posters with quick facts for students to learn a bit of history about the Dominican Republic and to have fun.

Walking towards Osceola campus on Monday, the first thing one would notice is the moving sound of Bachata and Merengue music playing in the background as students from LASO dance, and the air was filled with the smell of the Dominican food being served.

“It’s nice that they’re celebrating Dominican Republic’s Independence,” said Apolinar Ramirez, a Dominican student at Valencia, “I need more Dominicans in my life, that way I could celebrate today more officially.”

In the Osceola and Kissimmee area, Hispanics and Latinos make up a large percentage of the population, according to the most recent survey of the U.S. Census Bureau. Not many people around the area have celebrated or even know about Dominican Republic’s Independence Day, so LASO came together to celebrate, and spread some history about a day that many may not have known about.

A group of Dominican rebels finally seized the Ozama fortress in Santo Domingo on Feb. 27, 1844, and as the Haitians fled, the Dominican Republican was able to declare their independence from Haitian rule. It was a movement that brought an end to 22 years of Haitian dominance and the beginning of a new country.

Some facts that LASO talked about were about how Bachata and Merengue are music and dances that are unique to the Dominican Republic. Many members of LASO were dancing to this Dominican music and teaching others how to dance as well.

Other random facts are that the average Dominican meal includes stewed meat with plantains, white rice and red beans. The Dominican Republic has also been a huge help in the relief of Haiti after they went through the massive earthquake in 2010, which also managed to relieve a lot of tension between the countries.

Osceola campus is not the only campus that LASO participates in, but every campus has their own organization with different events to look out for as well. Next time the Latin American Student Organization puts on another event, one can be sure to have a good time and learn a bit of history as well.