Week of events celebrates latino culture

    Traditional dance performances by student Latino organizations at the Price Center signaled the start of UCSD’s Raza Awareness Week on May 5, Cinco de Mayo. The topic for this first day of community events was resistance and history.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    “”The events are organized in a way so that everyone, not just Latinos, can view it,”” said Manuel Ponce, a member of Danza Azteca, the first group to perform.

    There were also performances by a mariachi band, a traditionally clad Chicano cowboy and rider, and a speech on the importance of cultural representation by Sandra Diaz, a San Diego State University alumna.

    “”My friends are up there [performing],”” Ponce said. “”It is great. We are all participating.””

    Raza Awareness Week was put together by a coalition of UCSD student organizations called the Raza Awareness Week Committee. This year there were seven organizations involved.

    “”We want to present cultural events to build awareness about our Latino and Chicano identity,”” said Cynthia Bercera, the emcee for the day and member of the Raza Awareness Week Committee. “”We want people to know that Latinos have a culture to be proud of.””

    Raza Awareness Week was put on with a purpose, organizers said.

    “”Entertain, educate and welcome all ethnic groups is what we want to achieve this week,”” said Maggie Muendez, a coordinator for the Raza Awareness Week Committee.

    This was Muendez’s first year on the committee. The annual UCSD Raza Awareness Week was started in 1989 by the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.

    “”We are looking forward to all the great events,”” Muendez said.

    A visible part of the May 5 kickoff event was a row of security guards wearing bright yellow shirts, composed mostly of members from an all-male club called Latinos Unidos con Hermandad y Ambicion, translated as “”United Latinos with Brotherhood and Ambition.””

    “”We try to do as much community service as we can,”” said Eliezer Mendoza, in charge of security and vice president of LUCHA. “”We want to familiarize with each other, make friends and be a community.””

    On May 8 at the Price Center, LUCHA will lead speakers on a variety of workshops and discussions on the topic of education. The goal of LUCHA is to raise the retention rate for Latinos at UCSD.

    “”There will be different arguments presented on political issues affecting minority students. So, come. Everyone is invited,”” Mendoza said.

    Ending Raza Awareness Week on May 9 will be the Grass Roots fair with art displays and music performances at Price Center.

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