Drum cadences resonated through the doors of the Great Hall Wednesday evening as club members welcomed the Pierce College community to a free movie screening of “Cesar Chavez.”
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlàn (MEChA), a club established for students who are interested in Chicano Studies, greeted guests with an Aztec dance performance from Circulo Ajolote, according to club President Christian Diaz.
“We’re trying to promote cultural awareness, so we have Aztec dancers performing for about 30 minutes,” Diaz said. “It’s something that our ancestors did, something that we still identify with, and it’s something that we’re trying to show is still beautiful and is still going on.”
Cultivating cultural empowerment in the community by providing an example for individuals to follow is the source of motivation behind the events hosted by the MEChA club, according to Diaz.
“I feel like if they see me like ‘oh, he really loves where he is from, he really loves his roots, why can’t I?’ I feel like that’s going to spread out to other people,” Diaz said.
Inspired by positive attendance at their last event, the club strived to transfer that same momentum into this occasion as well, according to Diaz.
“We did day of the dead for Halloween last semester, and it was actually really successful with a big outcome,” Diaz said. “It was a really good event and we’re hoping to have the same with the free movie screening and Aztec dancers.”
Angelita Rovero, a professor of Chicano Studies and the club advisor, intends to utilize the event to raise cultural awareness among students.
“The idea is to bring students together and to be aware of history, and courses such as Chicano Studies,” Rovero said.
Teaching evening classes at the college, Rovero has committed herself to cultivating the deep passion and love that she has for her culture within her students and the community, according to Diaz.
“She’s great. She guided me, and in a sense rooted me in my past. I feel like I have an identity now, I feel like I’m a better person,” Diaz said. “Because of her I fell in love with myself and my culture, and i’m just hoping that other people can do the same.”
Melissa Robles, the treasurer of the club, aspired to hold the event on the National Holiday for Cesar Chavez, but due to campus closure, Robles and other club members were forced to defer the event to a later date.
“Cesar Chavez day was last month on March 30. We really wanted to do it that day, but school was closed so we decided to hold it off a month to really plan it out diligently, so that it could be as successful as we wanted it to be,” Robles said. “It really means a lot to us that people come out, because we are not a very well known club on campus.”
The MEChA club will be hosting several more events throughout the year, according to Rovero.
“We’re going to have a cinco de mayo celebration in the Great Hall next week,” Rovero said. “We’re also planning day of the dead around November 1, 2016.”