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Saturday, April 20, 2024

UC Davis celebrates 45th annual La Raza Cultural Days

From April 28 to May 3, UC Davis celebrated the 45th annual La Raza Cultural Days, which showcased a variety of events hosted by the Cross Cultural Center (CCC).

A few of these events included Dreamers Workshop, in which UC Davis and high school students performed spoken-word poems and spoke about the struggles faced by undocumented immigrants, and La Gran Tardeada, an all-day event on May 3 with live music, food, activities for children and a health fair.

Another one of the events was Women of Color Poetry Night, which was held at the Student Community Center Multipurpose Room on April 29. During the event, students shared and recited a wide range of poems in both English and Spanish.

Iliana Rodriguez, a fifth-year biological sciences major with an emphasis in neurology, physiology and biology, felt that this event allowed students to break out of their comfort zone.

“My favorite part is hearing the poems,” Rodriguez said. “You just hear all these poems that are so beautiful and you get inspired. It’s really neat to see the poems that touch someone and the reasoning behind it.”

According to Rodriguez, the whole week is designed to provide underrepresented students with a voice.

“I feel like there are a lot of minority groups here on campus that go unrecognized,” Rodriguez said. “This week is our turn to be recognized here on campus for being part of UC Davis and making up some percentage of it.”

Doris Hernandez-Morales, a UC Davis alumna, said that La Raza Cultural Days is a celebration that creates a sense of unity.

“This is our time for Chicano/Latinos for a whole week to do different programs,” Hernandez-Morales said. “There are so many students when you go to school all the time, and you don’t see that Chicanos and Latinos together, and this is when everyone comes together — a lot of professors, staff and students.”

Luis Corrales, a second-year English and psychology double major and Chicana/o studies minor, is a community relations intern of the Chicana/o Department, a member of Movimiento Estudianil Chican@ de Aztlán, Scholars Promoting Education Awareness and Knowledge and Yik’al Kuyum at the Student Recruitment and Retention Center. Corrales helped put together the Chicano Symposium event, which emphasized contemporary issues, especially feminism, within the community.

Corrales found that in the end, despite a few difficulties that came up, being one of the planners and participants proved to be very rewarding.

“It was really nice to see that my hard work paid off,” Corrales said. “I loved the lectures and the people that presented because they seemed so knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. They really got into it and the students were really interactive.”

According to Corrales, being a part of La Raza Cultural Days gave the opportunity to grow as an individual.

“The most difficult part [behind planning the event] was breaking my silence and being an open person by talking to the community and putting my face out there,” Corrales said. “It was a big learning process.”

Although La Raza Cultural Days only lasts a week, the coordinators begin their planning way in advance, and a lot of time and effort is involved in making sure things run smoothly.

Mayra Tostada, a fourth-yearhuman development and Chicana/o studies major and education minor and co-coordinator of La Raza Cultural Days, said that there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in bringing the programs to life, but she finds the process exciting.

“For our cultural days, we have a meeting every Friday since the beginning of the year,” Tostada said. “We take time to get to know each other as a committee and we have representatives of each organization within the ChiLat community.”

According to Tostada, the possibilities are endless when students put themselves out there throughout the week and embrace whichever culture they belong to.

“By attending these events, students can take away knowledge, and above all, cultural awareness,” Tostada said. “I want to encourage people to get involved. Even if they’re not in organization from the ChiLat community, everyone is welcome to our committee meetings and welcome to put on an event throughout the week. There are a lot of opportunities to build leadership and event-planning skills.”

JASMINE MANGABAY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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