Cultural celebration unites campus


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Polynesian dancer Raven Mapanal dances Hitoto Otea outside of Fireside Hall during DACAWeek’s Multicultural Night on Wednesday.

By Gabriel Quiroz, Staff writer

For the diverse group of students on the Contra Costa College campus there are not a lot of events that intertwine them all. However, for some students, last week changed that notion.
Held from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 17, Multicultural Night featured different opportunities to explore cultures in many forms. Artistry was on display in the Campus Center Plaza through film, food and fashion — staples of the event.
Multicultural Night was conceived by student ambassador and computer science major Gabriel Sanchez. Sanchez, like every CCC student ambassador, was asked to create an event for campus by Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks.
Sanchez said, “Joel (Nickelson-Shanks) asked me to create an event for this semester. I went to Dover Middle School and I thought of how we used to have multicultural day and it would involve the whole school. We don’t really have an event like that here, so I thought it would be a good idea.”
The event was one of many that focused on undocumented students last week during Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Week at CCC.
Clubs that contributed to the event include the Black Student Union, La Raza Student Union, International Student Union, Muslim Student Union and My Other Brother.
The food at the event drew a huge line of students, including many different ethnicities and cultures, willing to try culinary delicacies of another culture.
The food at the event, like many on campus, was a great success. When it was announced that food was going to be served, attendees rushed to get in line before it ran out.
There were many options to choose from, including lumpia, pot stickers, chicken, macaroni and even Halloween-themed conchas.
Kinesiology major Jose Zamora said, “I actually heard about the event from Center for Science Excellence Program Director Setiati Sidhartha. She said there would be good food and she was right. The lumpia was so good and they had a ton of resources for undocumented students.”
The event had a series of traditional clothing displayed in the back of Fireside Hall, including Japanese, Vietnamese, Muslim and other traditional clothing.
The display featured Japanese happi coats and yukata, a summer kimono. There were also Chinese cheongsam (a female body-hugging dress), Vietnamese ao dai (a tight-fitting silk tunic) worn by both sexes and other traditional garments.
“We want to help students get support and feel like they’re part of the campus,” International Student Union Vice President Xinmei Wang said.
The International Students Club was one of the many clubs present at the event. They shared how they work with students, as well as how they put on events and trips to four-year colleges.
Two documentary films were shown at Multicultural Night — one, “Underwater Dreams,” about a group of undocumented high school students and another, “Uncolonized,” about a family of Native Americans doing what they can to prevent their kids from growing up colonized.
There were also two music performances at the event that featured a traditional Mexican song and another that had authentic Polynesian dancing.
Psychology major Noemi Gomez and her Mexican traditional song teacher Lolisa Garcia played and sang three songs — “La Guaca mayo,” “La Manta” and “La Morena,” which is a song about a beautiful dark-skinned woman.
Dancer Raven Mapano came from a local studio to perform traditional Polynesian dances for the captivated crowd.