San Diego Mesa College celebrated diversity inclusion through four days of workshops,
lectures and events during the annual Festival of Colors and Cultural Unity Week on
campus from April 10 to 13.
Organized by the Committee for Diversity, Action, Inclusion and Equity and The Humanities
Institute, the series of events include an Advocacy Fair, viewings of “Human, The
Movie,” lectures on “The Diverse Middle East” and “Islamaphobia,” Healing Drums and
a Fashions of the World Runway Show.
“My word, today, is celebrate,” Poet Jaime Victoria Jones said during the Festival
of Colors on April 13. “We’re here for the Festival of Colors, and it is important
that each and every one of you finds some time to celebrate. I’m encouraging you that
if you want to be balanced, work to educate – as you’re doing today – and shout out
to say how much you appreciate every flower, favor, breath and step you take.”
Jones is one of the co-authors of “The Gumbo Pot Poems: A Savory Recipe for Life,
Community and GUMBO through Poetry,” along with CDAIE Chair and Mesa College Counseling
Professor Judy Sundayo, and Rev. Alyce Smith Cooper.
A Somalian Immersion Experience on April 11 was attended by more than 280 students,
faculty and staff, according to Sundayo. Attendees walked through tents to learn about
the history and cultural of Somalia, try traditional foods and spice tea, and experience
firsthand the concept of being new to a country and not understanding the native language.
“Students, faculty and staff went through the immersion tents to understand and experience
a very small part of what so many of our Somali students and local community members
have experienced,” Sundayo said.
On April 12 a Student Advocacy Fair hosted 16 local groups to teach the campus about
their advocacy work and let students, faculty and staff know what they can do to get
Cultural Unity Week ended April 13 with the Festival of Colors featuring dancers,
poets and musicians performing throughout the day and a runway show organized by the
Fashion Department of clothing from around the world, focusing on Africa. Members
of Danza Azteca played Aztec drum music and performed a traditional dance, and dancers
from the Mesa College Dance Company showed off their modern hip hop moves.
The day concluded with “Voices from the Left,” an event where 15 students, two actors
and two faculty members expressed their personal experiences through various forms
of storytelling. More than 143 people attended the event to see performances of poems,
stories and an original one act play, written by Professor Bobby Chambers.
“I think that an event like this was/is important because it really made the students
stop and think about the perspective of others’,” said Sakeenah Gallardo, Assistant
Professor of Communication Studies. “It made them challenge their own biases and privilege
as well. This event brings to the forefront the voice of those who can’t speak up
or out for themselves. This event made it possible for those who didn’t have a voice,
to have one that evening. We covered issues from homelessness, to disability of both
the mind and body, to sexual orientation, and we created a sense of community. Audience
members shared their thoughts and feelings about what they heard and felt. There were
a lot of tears and laughs.”
For more information about the Festival of Colors, Cultural Unity Week and the Committee
for Diversity, Action, Inclusion and Equity, contact Judy Sundayo via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (619) 388-2793.
Tags: Festival of Colors, Cultural Unity Week, Committee for Diversity Action Inclusion and Equity