Rhythmic beats of modern pop and rap music filled the crowded room of Jack Adams Hall Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. Dozens of students sat around round pink tables decorated in confetti with plates of rice, beans and chicken from Taqueria Girasol as they waited for the first Noche de Cultura event to begin.
The three hour event celebrated culture including traditional heritage and art, but also delved into modern issues affecting students. The event was put on by Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority Inc., a Latinx-based organization, to fundraise and create a cultural night to combine their Latinx community and culture with the SF State campus. It provided students a platform to sing, talk and perform about their culture and issues pertinent to them.
“Our organization is very culturally motivated, so we wanted to reach out to our student campus to have them perform and show off their art,” said Angie Arroyo, a sister of Alpha Pi Sigma.
The fundraising event was for three $500 annual scholarships for Latinx students. Although it was originally just for undocumented students, the scholarship opened up to all Latinx students so that a greater pool of students could apply, sorority president Frida Rojas said.
To open up the night, the student Hispanic dance club Ballet Folklorico De San Pancho performed. They danced and spun to “La Negra” and “Jarabe Tapatio” by Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan in their colorful attire. The four performers twirled in green, red, blue and pink dresses with wide smiles on their faces.
The event was open to Latinx culture but not limited to it. Student performers took this opportunity to discuss important topics and other cultures that are prominent in society such as rape culture.
SF State psychology major Anthony Sanchez sang “Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith and “Read All About It” by Emeli Sandé to open up the conversation to that culture.
Sanchez, a victim of sexual assault, said he was nervous to perform but realized the necessity to emphasize that the voices of him and other victims will not remain silent.
The rest of the night had other performers who sang, likeJordan Y’ Lexus, Anthony Sanchez and Maya Canales. Other skits featured a variety of talent by performers, such as poetry by Janet Lopez Galindo and a comedy skit by Adolofo Badillo Lopez Jr.
Gabriella Castillo, a first-year student, dedicated a melody of five songs to her recently passed grandfather. She strung together the words of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “God Bless the Broken Road” and “I Will Stand By You.”
“It was really nerve wracking, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone,” Castillo said.
To end the night, Danza Azteca Coyolxuqui performed traditional indigenous dances in colorful tribal clothing. They spoke of the importance of keeping tradition alive and danced to the beat of the drum with seed rattles on their ankles and instruments in hand.
“The event was a fun night filled with many different cultural backgrounds, and some less talked about cultures like rape culture and family culture,” said Emmanuel Delatorre, a Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity Inc brother. “It brought many perspectives and messages that could be related to everyone throughout the room.”
The sisters hope to make this an annual event.
View the multimedia piece by MJ Johnson here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpL_0gTpgOw