Quetzal, other artists celebrate ‘Cinco de Mayo’ at ELAC

By Lourdes Espinoza


An amusing blend of Mexican music and culture thrilled many at the Cinco De Mayo Festival as crowd enjoyed ‘aguas frescas’ with a side of mariachi music on May 7.

Vendors set up between the S1 and S2 buildings offered everything from food to arts and crafts.

Several small children from East Los Angeles College’s Child Development Center gathered around the bands and danced in unison with Chicano rock band Quetzal’s vocalist Martha Gonzalez as they began their set.  

An integration of Latin music and hip-hop performed by this year’s Grammy  award winners earned wide attention as the children were dubbed the “band’s little dancers.”

Whole Foods supplied snacks for all the children that attended the festival.

Other acts included Conjunto Hueyapan, Domingo 7 and the comical Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco who has played with celebrity figures like Cristian Castro and Marco Antonio Solis in the past.

During their set, they serenaded and reached out to the audience to dance.

Mexican art was a main attraction as attendees crowded around canvases displaying men on bongos and La Virgen De Guadalupe oil paintings by artist Manny Velasquez. 

Face painting was also available.

Local organization Mexa de East LA and the ELAC Entrepreneurship Club sold fruit and prepared tostadas de tinga-shredded pork or chicken.

Crafts booths like Crafty Frida sold handmade ecofriendly accessories including earrings and bracelets while artist Jake Prendez had prints and postcards for sale.

Event coordinator Professor Angelita Rovero Herrera said, “I always had a deep love for my roots and teaching Chicano Studies is my passion. In my classes, I always try to teach my students the importance of knowing where and what they come from so that we embrace our Mexican traditions and have pride in our Chicano culture.  I only hope to project the love of our ‘raza’ as a whole”

Goal achievement was promoted through Homeboy Industries who sold merchandise and spoke on behalf of their organization to better the lives of the formerly incarcerated.

Grassroots organizations such as Revolutionary Autonomous Communities-Los Angeles advocated healthy food, self-sufficiency and sold home-made soap and shampoo.

A man who chose to go only by Mauricio represented RAC-LA and said they selected ELAC as  its first booth location at an educational institution to spread the word to scholars who would be willing to consider an organization like RAC-LA.

He mentioned RAC-LA reached out to college students since they may have incentives to organize and get involved through knowledge acquired through many of the classes taught here.

Young students from the UCLA Community School, a kindergarten through fifth grade campus, performed keen interpretations of traditional Mexican folk dances while wearing colorful skirts, ‘sombreros’ and special shoes. The first traditional folk dance involved three young girls dancing as they balanced candles on their heads. Later in their act, the boys aligned to tap their heels in union as the group of girls paired up with them to conclude their dance routine.

Having taught Chicano Studies at ELAC since 2003, Professor Herrera was proud of the event she brought to life.

“I want our campus to have ongoing events for students to look forward to. Something that the ELAC ‘familia’ can look forward to annually, for student clubs to fundraise, to raise cultural awareness and invite the community to a day of festivities,” said Professor Herrera.

This free event was brought to you by the Associated Student Union, Whole Foods Market Arroyo and the Chicana/o Studies de ELAC.

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