Olga Loya’s stories bring multicultural spice to campus

Emma Dahl

Olga Loya, a nationally known storyteller, will be coming to campus, performing Tuesday, Sept. 25 in Olin Hall 130 at 7:00 p.m.

Loya, who grew up in East Los Angeles with her Mexican grandmother and father, is well known for her unique style that combines the English and Spanish languages. This blend creates a captivating dichotomy that makes her stories extremely entertaining to listen to for people of all ages.

Loya’s young life was heavily influenced by the stories she heard from her multicultural family. Her storytelling style blends history, myth, and tradition into eclectic but beautiful tales. Her personal website describes the stories she tells as “personal tales, short stories inspired from a mix of newspaper and dream, healing stories, tales of extraordinary women, of myriad voices and inflections, and sometimes music and dance.”

Matthew Ozuna, interim director of Whitman’s Intercultural Center and a director of Club Latino, discussed Loya’s upcoming performance.

“Olga was chosen over the summer with the help of student leaders in Club Latino,” he said. “She is very accomplished and well-known and can speak directly to the Mexican-American experience, which I and some Whitman students and community members can relate to very closely.”

Fabiola Ochoa, co-president of Whitman’s Club Latino, discussed Loya’s visit to campus in correlation with the club’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

“She’s a great asset to bring to Whitman because she has the best of both worlds,” said Ochoa.

She also dispelled any fears attendees may have of misunderstanding Loya’s bilingual performance.

“The way that she performs is that if she says something in Spanish, she’ll translate it right away to English, so she says both,” so it is easy for the audience to follow her stories.

“What we were trying to accomplish with her was [to have] a figure for Hispanic Heritage Month … We’re hoping that with her, we can reach out to the community,” said Ochoa.

Loya’s appearance will also be the premiere of the Intercultural Center’s Storyteller Series.

The goal of the series, Ozuna said, is to “bring awareness to the different peoples, languages, histories, traditions, values and beliefs existing within the human condition and examine how these differences intersect with one another.”