Soy Yo Festival educates students on Latinx community

In Features, Lifestyle
Danielle Rosales, a member of Ballet Folklorico de CSUF, dances on stage at the Soy Yo Festival in traditional folklorico attire.
(Christian Aguilar / Daily Titan)

Tamales, pupusas, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with warm nacho cheese sauce and creamy horchata — who wouldn’t be hungry with that combination? The Chicana & Chicano Resource Center celebrated its second annual Soy Yo Festival on Thursday, March 14 at the Becker Amphitheater.

The Soy Yo Festival catered to a variety of different groups, said Citlally Contreras, graduate student assistant at the Chicana & Chicano Resource Center and the moderator of the event.

“The theme of this year’s festival is intersectionalities within the Latinx community, so we have activities about being Afro-Latino in Latinx, being Asian in Latinx, about different genders within the Latinx community,” Contreras said.

Students were given an activity card, which permitted them to visit booths and participate in educational activities. At each booth they were given a signature, and once students visited five booths they had access to free food. They chose from chicken, cheese or beef tamales, and either lemonade or horchata.

If students visited eight activities, they were entered into a raffle.

Ballet Folklórico de Cal State Fullerton performed as students learned about different resources offered on campus.

“This is an opportunity for Ballet Folklórico of Cal State Fullerton to come out and just let everybody know that we’re here and also, to continue supporting what we believe in, which is to continue spreading the awareness of the culture through dance, through folklórico,” said Bianca Gonzalez, a child and adolescent major and Spanish minor.

Alex Loza, theater major, said his favorite part about the Soy Yo Festival is the folklórico.

“I like dancing and dancing is just a form of art to express oneself and Mexicans do it with their nice beautiful dresses, the colors of the Mexican flag, a cowboy hat, cowboy boots. It just brings Mexican culture really live. Makes it real,” Loza said.

The LGBT Queer Resource Center had students play Lotería, which is a Mexican bingo game, but did not include its traditional pictures. Instead of a man holding the world, a woman did, and while usually a female mermaid is displayed on the card, the game included a male mermaid.

Also instead of a regular flag, the card displayed an LGBTQ pride flag.

“That game can be offensive to some people. Like you see the Lotería game with naked people or with people wearing the gay pride colors and you’re like, ‘I don’t really agree with this, but all right.’ I’m open to it because it’s part of our culture now. You have no choice,” Loza said.

Another activity included relaxing while coloring in pages of powerful women.

“Honestly, my favorite part was the coloring part because you learn the different women that have made an impact in the Latino community, and they can be African Latino, LGBTQ Latino, there’s like so many different ones,” said Karina Bataz, a communications major with an emphasis in entertainment and tourism.

After colorism conversations, students were asked to answer questions about colorism within the Latinx community such as, “How have you perpetuated colorism onto others, do you assign a high value to folk with a lighter complexion and what will you do to interrupt colorism?”
Colorism is “the privileging of light skin over dark” according to Time magazine.

“I like that it keeps you thinking. A lot of these activities have you question and make you think a different perspective, especially the colorism in the Latin community. I think it’s something that we don’t really talk about, but it’s really prominent in the Latinx community,” said Randy Garcia, a human services major with a minor in sociology.

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