The Cinco de Mayo celebration, hosted by the MEChA club for the first time, included a variety of dances accompanied by food, where both students and faculty came to watch on May 5, in the Great Hall.
MEChA’s president, Christian Diaz, stated that the reason they were holding the event was to bring cultural awareness and promote education by giving back to the administrators.
“We’re hoping to show people a little bit about our culture, our history, in the form of dance, and show how it’s evolved,” Diaz said. “Not a lot of people get to experience or hear about their own history. At a Latino majority school it’s good to give back and show them ‘this is part of who you are, this is your history’. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s something to be proud of.”
Angelita Rovero, Chicano Studies professor and advisor of the MEChA club, was one of the chief coordinators of the event.
“I’ve been trying to do a Cinco de Mayo event for years ever since I’ve been here,” Rovero said. “But now thanks to the help of Dean Juan Carlos Astorga, in conjunction with him we were able to coordinate this event.”
Rovero, who teaches at East Los Angeles college as well, wanted to bring to Pierce the events she normally does over there, such as the “Day of the Dead” event. However, due to the fact that all campuses have different styles in doing events, she did not know how to coordinate an event at Pierce. Student Engagement Dean Juan Carlos Astorga was one of the many others who helped her out.
“We also wanted to do this event to invite the faculty, administration and staff who works here, to have them come and get to know the students and see what they are about, because they have also been pushing for Chicano Studies courses,” Rovero said. “We wanted to say thank you, and form something to invite them to come and enjoy an evening and show what our culture really signifies.”
According to Pierce College President, Kathleen Burke, two additional courses, Chicano Studies 7 and Chicano Studies 8, have been approved at last month’s Academic Senate Meeting. Currently the school is waiting for an approval from the state to offer the Chicano Studies major as an AA (Associate of Arts) degree at Pierce College.
“We sent the request two months ago and the courses just got approved at the Academic Senate Meeting,” Burke said. “We need to add the courses first, then the degree will come.”
The Cinco de Mayo event ended with the dances of Grupo Ajolote and Grupo Folklorico Cuauhtli, with the food provided by Casablanca Restaurant.