Vintage eye-popping cars, hydraulics and Aztec-inspired art are all aspects of Chicano traditions passed down for generations. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Mesa Cooperativa brought these visions to life in the “Exposición” car show at the CSUF central Quad Thursday afternoon.
Mesa Cooperativa’s archivist Priscilla Mancilla said the show was meant to challenge stigmas found within the Chicana/o, Latina/o community.
“Often times, perceptions of Chicana/o, Latina/o car clubs is that they are gangsters. It’s very negative,” Mancilla said. “However, it’s a big misconception because it takes a lot of financial stability to create these cars.”
Mancilla said car owners and clubs also host fundraisers and holiday donation drives.
“The reason we had the (car show) was to bring awareness about our identities. Historically, Chicano cars were a way to identify yourself as a rider, socially and politically. You would get stopped based on the artwork of your car, based on whether it danced, the horns and all that good stuff, and so that was the only way our community had a way to voice ourselves” said Mesa Cooperativa chair Angelica Valencia.
A continuous flow of students stopped by the Quad to look at the cars. Chevrolet Bel Airs and Impalas were provided by car clubs, one of which was the Los Angeles-based Imperials Car Club.
Throughout the car show, DJ Funk Freaks played classic funk tunes from artists like the Bar-Kays and Rick James. Mancilla said Funk Freaks was their connection to the car club scene.
Thursday marked the first time Mesa Cooperativa held “Exposición,” which was inspired by the annual car shows in Chicano Park located in San Diego.
“It’s really cool seeing our culture just come together and have a car show,” said second-year business major Louie Monzon.
Biology major Victoria Hoang said she stopped to look at the car show because she heard the music and wanted to see what was going on.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything on campus like this. It’s really rare to see these cars anyway, so it’s really cool they brought it here,” Hoang said.
Valencia said Mesa Cooperativa is thinking of adding food vendors and more lowrider owners next year.
“We were talking to faculty and staff, and some of the staff even had their own lowriders,” Valencia said. “We just didn’t know, so we couldn’t network.”
Mancilla said she hoped the event helped represent the various stories within Hispanic culture.
“It’s a lot about sharing your narrative because even within our Chicanx/Latinx culture, there’s so many narratives and so many subcultures within it. It’s time to appreciate all of them,” Mancilla said.