Fresno City College is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month by hosting various events and learning opportunities for students and staff.
Hispanic Heritage Month starts on Sept. 15 which is the day five Central American countries declared their independence from Spain. Sept 16 is Mexican Independence Day.
FCC’s Latino Faculty and Staff Association organized many of these events.
On Oct. 7, Matt Espinosa Watson, Chicano Latino Studies instructor, will do a virtual presentation on the “Fall of Tenochtitlan, 500 Years Later: What Cortes’ Triumph Over the Mexica (Aztec) Means to us Today.”
On Oct. 14 a cantarito fundraiser with fresh fruit drinks in traditional clay cups and folklorico performance will be held at FCC cafeteria’s east patio to raise money for student scholarships.
On the same day, Watson will also be hosting a Latinidad Panel Discussion via Zoom, to explore the history and relevance of the terms Latino/a, Latinx, Hispanic and Chicano.
The purpose of the panel is to discuss whether the term Hispanic should still be used in “Hispanic Heritage Month” because not everyone likes the term Hispanic, according to Ernie Garcia, President of FCC’s Latino Faculty and Staff Association.
The association collaborated with FCC’s Students Activities to host a virtual Mexican Independence Day college hour on Sept. 16. During the Zoom, Watson gave an overview on Mexican Independence Day.
Another event the association hosted was on Sept. 17, where they partnered with Fresno’s Arte Americas, a nonprofit cultural center, to play loteria, a traditional Mexican card game, via Zoom.
Garcia believes it is important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because a lot of people don’t realize the contributions Latino people have brought to America.
He also hopes the association will incorporate events with other cultures and countries next year when there are more students on campus.
“It’s important to celebrate all contributions of all countries and cultures,” he said.
FCC’s Dream Center celebrated Hispanic Heritage month by passing out Mexican candy to students who were on campus.
The center assists students who are undocumented or come from families who are undocumented, support the process of becoming U.S. citizens, legal and academic support.
For Ben Reynoso, director of FCC’s Dream Center, Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it allows him to celebrate and be proud of his culture.
“It’s always nice to celebrate who we are, where we come from our diverse backgrounds,” he said.
Reynoso said that FCC was one of the first community colleges in California to have a Dream Center, and it was used as a model for the rest of the state’s 116 community colleges, which are now required to have one.
With many undocumented students at FCC, Reynoso said the Dream Center will be receiving funds to hire more counselors and obtain new resources.
Overall, Reynoso said he is proud of these students’ perseverance and graduation rates throughout the pandemic.
Undocumented Student Week of Action, a week dedicated to where California community colleges advocate and provide support services for our undocumented students, will start on Oct. 18 at FCC.
During that week, FCC’s Dream Center will offer resources to the campus and community in regards to understanding the undocumented population. More information can be found here.