Cinco de Mayo at SF State
Over 200 people attended the 31st Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration by La Raza
May 9, 2006 11:55 AM
SF State’s La Raza student organization kicked off its 31st Annual Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebration with live music and a message of unity in the Malcolm X Plaza.
More than 200 people showed up at noon to watch and join in the festivities. Aztec dancers in elaborate feather headdresses danced in a semicircle to the beat of a drum, accenting the beat were the seed pods and metal bells around their ankles that rattled as they moved in unison.
Students from Cleveland Elementary School participated in the celebration, reenacting the Battle of Pueblo. Often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1892. It is celebrated widely in the United States, but is considered only a minor holiday in Mexico.
SF State Baile Folklorico (traditional Mexican folk dancers) performed in red, white and green dresses, moving their feet and twirling their skirts to the music.
Attendees and organizers of the event weighed in on the celebration, and Cinco de Mayo as a whole.
“Cinco de Mayo is not just about drinking Coronas and getting drunk," said Jose Villalobos, event organizer to the crowd. "It’s not a celebration just to get wasted, that is not what our culture has been reduced to.
“That is why you must celebrate Cinco de Mayo and celebrate it for what it is, a victory of the oppressed, of those who struggled and a showing of us rising as a people”
“I’m glad to see Cinco de Mayo on campus because it brings me back to my childhood,” said Fides Rojo, a graduate studies coordinator, who grew up in the Mission District.
Claudia Montaovo, 26, did not celebrate Cinco de Mayo because of her Central American roots. However, after recognizing a need for Latin Americans and Mexican Americans to unite, she began partaking in the festivities.
“In relation to immigration reform rights now, it’s important to unite to say these are our roots, this is where we come from, and not get wrapped up around the national boundaries and borders,” said Montaovo, a political science graduate student. “We both have heritage of being conquered by Spain, the indigenous roots are the same so why not celebrate together."
“Cinco de Mayo represents being proud of my background and my heritage, and just coming together and partying," said Margoth Turcios, 20, political science major who plans to continue celebrating through the weekend at the massive Cinco de Mayo celebration planned for San Jose.
Raza Studies Professor Brigitte Davila spoke against immigration bill HR 4437 - which would illegal immigration a felony- and encouraged students to continue to stand up against it.
“These laws are unjust just as the Jim Crow laws were unjust that barred people on the basis of race,” she said. “Keep taking to the streets, and not only that, email your Sen. Dianne Feinstein and tell her what you think.”
A mariachi band wrapped up the lively event by 2 p.m.
Villalobos said he was happy with the turnout.
“For a Friday, it was much more than I expected,” said Villalobos. “It’s a reminder of what Cinco de Mayo is, an event geared to tell people that we’re still here, we’re still in the struggle."
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