Vibrant banners and flags of Latin American countries adorned the stage in Malcolm X Plaza, Wednesday, as La Raza Student Organization celebrated its Festival de las Americas, an annual event in honor of Latin American independence days. Many of SF State’s Latino organizations including Hermanos Unidos, MEChA and ALAS were present at the event, tabling and selling snacks.
This is the 40th year La Raza has organized the event. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Resistance.”
“Festival de la Americas is to celebrate the independence of all the countries, but the reason why we put ‘celebrating resistance’ (is) because (independence) not only came through resistance, but resistance is still happening today,” said Emilytricia López of La Raza.
She said the foreign policies of first world countries are more like economic imperialism.
“Resistance is part of Latin American culture,” she said. “It becomes our everyday lives.”
During the celebration a DJ played traditional and contemporary Latino music while the crowd square danced to a face-paced country-style Spanish song. The event featured speakers Michael Villegas and Carlos Cordoba and singer freshman Marissa.
“It puts the idea of resistance in the forefront of the school,” said Villegas, a Humanities grad student and lecturer. “It allows students to see that, on campus at least, allows students to see that there is more happening here than jump houses.”
William Mosley, a sociology sophomore who was watching the celebration while getting some sunshine in the plaza, said he appreciated the festival even though he’s not Latino because he feels its important to know your roots.
“Pretty much everybody in American culture is now Americanized,” he said. “That’s part of us, but we also got to don’t forget our roots ‘cause that’s where we came from.”