Fiesta To Celebrate Mexican Independence
The year 2010 not only marks the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, it also celebrates 200 years of Mexican independence. Colombia, Argentina and other Latin American countries also are celebrating bicentennials.
In recognition of these celebrations, and to honor Michigan’s Hispanic heritage, Alma College plans to host a series of events.
“El Bicentenario in Michigan: Exchanges Between Michigan and the Americas” kicks off with a fiesta on Friday, Sept. 17. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 3 p.m. with an information fair in the Tyler Van-Dusen Student Center.
The Mexican flag
After a dinner break, the community is invited to dance from 7 to 11 p.m. featuring a local disc jockey who specializes in Latino music, including salsa.
To open the dance, special guest Consul Vicente Sanchez from the Mexican Consulate in Detroit will deliver the “Grito de Independencia.” Sept. 17 was chosen to launch the yearlong series of events for this opportunity.
“Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16, though it’s celebrated through the 15th,” says Stephany Slaughter, assistant professor of Spanish. “At about 10 p.m., all over Mexico, the highest ranking government official goes to the main square to reenact this call for independence. We’re excited to have Consul Sanchez do the honors for us, and we hope members of the Hispanic community will join us for our local ‘Grito.’”
Alma College student Tristan Smith, a junior from Lowell, spent this past summer interning at the Mexican Consulate, where she worked on projects related to the bicentenario as part of her Donald J. Yehle Internship Endowment.
“Professor Ed Lorenz, who also is involved in the planning of our celebration, suggested the scholarship to her,” says Slaughter. “The fiesta is based on Tristan’s suggestions for her internship, and I find it very exciting that we’re putting her idea into action.”
Slaughter hopes the celebration will engage students, faculty, staff and community members in new conversations about Hispanic culture and bring attention to those already taking place.
“We want to make Hispanic culture more visible,” she says. “We want to explore to what extent history affects how we see things today and make connections between the past and present.”
Slaughter is hoping to plan additional events throughout the academic year. By involving academics, arts and athletics, she hopes to show students there are many opportunities to engage in Hispanic culture and language.
“We want to cross disciplines, break down barriers and make connections with the community,” she says. “Hopefully, people who might not have thought of coming to campus will feel welcome and join us for the events.”
Other events include a panel discussion about immigration and the U.S. Constitution. Bill Gorton, assistant professor of political science, Kristin Olbertson, assistant professor of history, and two other panelists will participate in the event at 8 p.m. Sept. 22 in SAC 113.
The following week, West Cosgrove, the executive director at Project Puente, a non-profit organization located along the U.S.-Mexican border, will be on campus. He will speak about immigration relations with Mexico and current border issues at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 in Dow L1.
A photo contest also is planned, with winning photos to be displayed at the Detroit Institute of Art on Nov. 20 as part of the Mexican Consulate’s official commemoration of the centenary of the Mexican Revolution.
Posted: Fri, September 3rd, 2010 at 3:22PM