The sounds of rhythmic drum beats and heavy chanting blend together to fill the room, as a man in brightly colored indigenous clothing and an elaborate feather headdress leads a spiritual cleansing of the space.
Students experienced Aztec dancing and free food during the second annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, sponsored by the MEChA club and ASO, on May 4 in The Great Hall.
“This is an opportunity to come together as one community, share a meal with one another and celebrate the different cultures that we have,” Dean of Student Engagement Juan Carlos Astorga said.
He said the event is important because it allows those in attendance to learn about Latino heritage.
“For some students, this may be the first time that they ever see Latino culture, and why even have Aztec dancing or even acknowledge Cinco De Mayo in the first place,” Astorga said. “I want students to expand their own experiences.”
Pierce College President Kathleen Burke was honored at the event for the work she has done and continues to do for MEChA.
“This is an important event to support the cultural heritage of our students,” Burke said. “The event has probably doubled in size since last year, and that has to speak to the advisors as well as the support that the college has brought to help MEChA grow.”
Angelita Rovero, Chicano studies instructor and adviser of the MEChA club, worked alongside Astorga to help put on the celebration.
“It’s important to have a cultural awareness event for the fastest growing minority group in California,” Rovero said.
“What I want students to take away from this event is that even if the people aren’t indigenous to Mexico, they learn about the indigenous people and the history itself,” Rovero said. “I believe that it is important for students to know where they come from and where others come from.”
According to Rovero, the event also highlighted the MEChA club’s mission to implement a Chicano studies discipline and give back to the community by working with nonprofit organizations.
“Chicano studies has been developing here at Pierce. MEChA club has been instrumental in that progress. This celebration is about taking one step forward,” said Kaycea Campbell, department chair of social science.
Campbell was also honored by the MEChA club during their award ceremony for her work with the club during the last few years.
Astorga said the Cinco De Mayo celebration was successful with a great turnout and positive energy.