On Wednesday, May 1 students gathered at the Bell Tower for the Cinco de Mayo Nooner co-sponsored by ASPB, Raza Assembly and Chicano Student Programs (CSP).
Victor Marroquin, a fourth-year education and gender and sexuality studies major, began the nooner by shouting out the Highlander Empowerment Referendum and International Workers Day. “Ahorita vamos a bailar, vamos a celebrar (Now we dance, now we celebrate in Spanish). It’s week five we’re dying under all these midterms, but we’re all still here together,” Marroquin said.
Marroquin then introduced the performing band Mariachi Aztecas de Oro. “It’s a pleasure to be here at UCR for Semana de la Raza,” one of the band members stated. During one of their songs, the trumpet player, Alberto Rosito, went into the crowd to play his instrument. Rosito was in the mariachi class while working towards his bachelor’s degree at UCR. During the last songs, people got up from their spots on the steps to dance around the stage.
The nooner also featured a special performance from Rosa Martha Zarate, a community member whose work includes documenting the struggles and hardships of braceros, agricultural workers brought to the United States from Mexico under a World War Two-era program to fill vacancies brought by the war. Zarate worked with CSP to launch a research internship this quarter to teach students how to interview, translate and scribe. Zarate was a social justice singer who sang her original song “Primero de Mayo” to close the nooner. “I write about community, our struggles and fight,” Zarate said. Zarate’s CD’s were also available for purchase afterward.
“I wanted her to complete Semana de la Raza given our political climate. Everything that’s going on, (it’s) a call to action on the responsibilities that we have and the privileges we have as college students,” said CSP’s Assistant Director Arlene Cano Matute.
This was the second year that Maribi Avaloz, a third-year sociology and Spanish double major, was involved with working the Cinco de Mayo Nooner. “I think each year you just get more connected to it. I’m Mexican-American, so I can connect with (the) Cinco de Mayo Nooner. I’m really proud of this resource like CSP and other organizations,” Avaloz said.
Avaloz tabled at the CSP table with Stephanie Martinez, a fourth-year psychology major. Martinez attended the Cinco de Mayo Nooner last year but this year she was involved in working the nooner which gave her a new perspective. “(When) you’re helping run it, (you) see how other people are enjoying the event. I think it’s really cool and awesome to bring out our culture in a way that people haven’t seen it as,” Martinez said.
CSP’s upcoming events include Raza Grad on June 2 and the 15th celebration of Mundo Hall on May 22.