ROCKIN’ IN THE NAME OF HERITAGE
To commemorate Cinco de Mayo, guest speakers were invited to a forum in SSC 212.
“Cinco de Mayo commemorates the expulsion of French forces from Mexico in the Battle of Puebla in 1867,” said Ana-Maria Cobos, librarian, who also helped secure one of the speakers. “It really isn’t celebrated in Mexico. In California it recognizes the Mexican resistance to French rule in the 1860s after Mexico had already received independence of Spain. It also serves as a reason to bring together people of Mexican origin who live in the US as they define Mexicanness while being away from home.”
The celebration began with Manuel Herrera, from the Deputy Consul of Mexico in Orange County. Herrera provided information on Mexico’s educational system and the impact of education on migration.
“Education should be free to all parties, all people, no matter what,” Herrera said. “As long as we [Mexicans] have education, we can improve all areas of development.”
Herrera pointed out several important programs that the Consul provides for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Online high schools, scholarships, Spanish book donation, and education for adults are among the opportunities for advancement that are offered through the Consul.
“The Mexican government is committed to generating the most favorable conditions for Mexican migrants by offering different types of programs addressed to improve their level of education and facilitate their integration into society,” Herrera said. “We want to provide Mexicans living here with new skills. They are getting new tools. We will teach them how to learn, not just to learn facts. The goal is to eliminate the educational disadvantages of migrants.”
Following Herrera’s presentation, Omar Loya, known as I-Kuestion, from the hip-hop group Almas Intocables performed some numbers accompanied by DJ Fade and Saddleback student Lauren Baba, 21, music. Loya, 26, liberal arts, could not be joined by his other band mates due to extenuating circumstances. Loya gave the audience a brief overview of the history of hip-hop and its meaning to the Chicano culture.
“What is being played on the radio is not hip-hop,” Loya said. “It’s not a true representation of what hip-hop is. We’re in a ring tone era. People just want a quick catchy tune. People don’t want to take the time to look for the deeper meaning.”
Loya performed pieces in Spanish, English, and a combination of the two. After about 20 minutes, he invited Sicko Soldado, a solo hip-hopper, to take the microphone.
“I talk about revolution,” Soldado said. “It’s about knowing what you speak.”
Soldado emphasized ideas close to heart for not only Chicanos, but people in general. His songs were about working hard and striving for success and growing up as a Mexican-American.
After the mini-concert, librarian and writer Rafaela Castro read excerpts from her new autobiographical book, “Provocaciones: Letters from a Pretty Girl in Arvin,” and had her own question and answer session.
Castro was invited to the college by Cobos, who she met while working in Northern California. With several books to credit and 2 masters degrees from UC Berkeley, Castro book details growing up in Arvin, California, and her relationship with her mother.
“I left my house when I was 20 to join the Peace Core,” Castro said. “Those of you who grew up Mexican know there is a lot of guilt that can come from a Mexican-American home.”
Castro emphasized that although her family was born in El Paso, Texas, her parents strongly regarded themselves as Mexican, and not Mexican-American or Chicano.
“I remember hearing the word Chicano in the streets of Bakersfield,” Castro said. “Chicano was considered lower class. I think they were immigrants. It combined all that, lower class, immigrants, uneducated, misbehaved. People found it an offensive word.”
The Cinco de Mayo celebration continued with an evening celebration in the Village. Authentic Mexican food accompanied speaker Dr. Jacobo Sefami.