United Multicultural Allies host a festival

By Mira Saleh
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Students preparing to present different traditional Latino outfits for a runway fashion show. Photo by Mira Saleh.

On Wednesday April 18th, the school of World Languages and Cultures hosted a campus-wide multicultural festival at the main quad and student center to showcase different cultures amongst the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus.

Students that attended the festival were introduced to customs such as the Japanese Tea Ceremony, traditional Mexican fashion, and a popular Japanese dance. In addition students obtained familiarity to Latino history through a book reading, A Fighting Chance, conducted by author Claudia Melendez Salinas, as well as competed in trivia games.

Presentations on undocumented student support resources and the importance of inclusivity toward foreign exchange students were also held to help ignite cohesiveness among all students on campus.

“I don’t want us to conflate undocumented with Mexican,” Joanna Snawder-Manzo care manager of student life stated, as she introduced undocumented student support resources on campus such as UndocuAllies and Undocu-Otters.

She stressed the importance of acknowledging that in our community, there are many people who are undocumented that come from many different countries. Upon mentioning this statement, awe and heartfelt emotions were apparent among students’ faces surrounding the room.

Participants learning how to do the traditional Japanese Fisherman Dance from Japanese foreign exchange students. Photo by Mira Saleh.

“I almost felt like I was Japanese myself,” was how senior student Dante Reeves described learning the traditional Japanese Fisherman Dance.

He further on went to explain the fun he had learning and embracing new cultures during the festival, especially during the Latino heritage trivia.

Freshman student Fabiola Saavedra was dressed in a traditional Mexican white blouse with floral detail and a satin red scarf around her waist. She is a contributor of the Spanish Program and expressed her goal for students attending the festival- to able to share his or her cultures and become open-minded, not only to Mexico, but other countries as well. In addition she wanted students to become inspired and prioritize exploration of other countries during their lifetime.

Members of the Spanish Program dressed in traditional Mexican clothing, handing out Mexican candy. Photo by Mira Saleh.

As one walked into the student center, the multiple colorful flags displayed on the surrounding tables, immediately captured their attention. Upon further articulation, details of bright colored Mexican candy wrappers on tables, foods offered ranging from authentic Mexican baked goods such as pan dulce (sweet bread) to homemade sushi, and an array of multi-ethnic interested individuals encompassed the room. As a result, positive interconnected energy flowed as a deeper understanding of different culture emerged from the festival.

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