Cinco de Mayo originated during the first years of the American Civil War amongst the Mexican-Americans in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy. It is recognized in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.
This event is also known as “El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla” or the day of the battle of Puebla. This day is typically not celebrated in Mexico, except in a few areas in the state of Puebla. It remains mainly a celebration within the United States.
This visual expression of Mexican heritage and diversity will now be making its way to the Youngstown State University campus for the ninth consecutive year.
“Mexican food, art and entertainment are contributed by YSU students and faculty, and volunteers. This is a great experience for all to witness the diversity, leadership and awareness YSU has risen to express the Mexican culture,” said Ruba Alhamid, president of the YSU Hispanic organization. “It really shows the true image of Youngstown State in a way that we all can come together to raise awareness and break barriers.”
Cinco de Mayo, when translated from Spanish means “the fifth of May,” named after the day of the celebration — May 5. The informal event on campus is sponsored by the Office of Student Diversity Programs and the Cinco de Mayo committee.
“The idea was first presented by the Student Diversity Council and facilitated through a collaboration between different offices and student organizations,” William Blake, student diversity coordinator, said.
This cultural celebration is designed to teach people about an American-Mexican historic event, involving everyone including YSU faculty, staff, students and community members. Activities are held in the USA among Latino populations, specifically among the Mexican populations.
“Every year, the room is decorated with the Mexican color theme and a presentation of the Battle of Puebla is provided for the students whose professors and teachers allow them to attend,” said Maggie McClendon, executive board member at Educators and Community Helping Hispanics Onward and assistant director of admission at YSU. “This event is free and open to the public and Mr. Blake provides a Mexican lunch for 100 people.”
An overview of the event will be presented by a YSU faculty member and several students will perform along with a featured guest artist. The program will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center.
“We still have a long way to go before we can be comfortable in our skins,” McClendon said.