SMC Commemorates Mexican Revolution Anniversary
Many gathered at the clock tower for a jubilant celebration of Cinco de Mayo on Thursday, an event that featured Aztec dancers, Mariachi music, good Mexican food and poignant speakers.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates The Battle of Puebla, where 2,000 Mexican peasants defeated over 6,000 French soldiers under the command of Napoleon III.
On the fifth of May, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by native Mexican (and American) people everywhere. In America, Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to celebrate Chicano culture in general, and has come to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. "Think of Cinco de Mayo as a political event," said Michael Soldatenko one of the speakers at the festive event. "People should look at it differently, we are now fighting the anti- immigration laws we should use this special day as a wake up call to try to better the world, and assist our Mexican brethren everywhere". Soldantenko said.
Despite a cloudy, slightly rainy day, the event had a relatively large turnout. Many people present were delighted by the event, "It's really cool, and I did not know much about Cinco de Mayo, I really enjoy participating in cultural events, and I love the Aztec dancers." Andrea Olsen said, referring to the dancers known as Danza, the dancers are dressed in traditional Aztec garb complete with gigantic feather hats, this type of dancing with its expression of social, political and cultural issues has a tremendous impact on the Mexican American community. Enrique Renaldo explained the significance of the dancers, "The dancers symbolize the back ground of the history of the Aztecs and the special way of expressing reverence and prayer to the gods."
When asked what he as a Mexican would like to convey about the importance of this holiday, Renaldo replied, "Benito Juarez had a powerful quote, the English translation is 'peace is respect for the rights of others' the immigration laws are a racist thing, migration is a natural experience of the world."
One of the speakers focused on achieving better relations between Hispanics and blacks, citing "we are all people of color." Nicole Parrish, an African American student was in agreement with this. "There is a huge problem of bigotry between Mexicans and blacks, we need to unite and stop the ridiculous notion that one is better than the other." Juan Lopez, a biology major, was infuriated by a rumor that was being spread on the news, "There was a warning that any black guy wearing a white T- shirt which is associated with Mexican gangs would be shot, that really pissed me off, it is a blatant attempt to cause more friction between blacks and Hispanics." Amid all the gaiety and food, was an important message, "Mexicans should be proud of their heritage and get involved in helping each other fight bigotry which we are seeing more and more with the Bush administration and by our own California Governor" said, Alice Hernandez.
For many in the Latino population, with the rise on anti immigration sentiment this Cinco de Mayo is more significant then previous years, "I believe we have a big fight on our hands in regards to recent anti- immigration rhetoric." Hernandez said. "I use this holiday as inspiration that we have the power in us to fight."