EMCC celebrates 10th annual Hispanic Heritage Month

Victor Villasenor, author of "Rain of Gold"
Victor Villasenor, author of "Rain of Gold"

AVONDALE, Arizona – National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) has been an officially observed celebration since 1988, and Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) has been committed to keeping its own tradition of this cultural celebration for ten consecutive years. As a Hispanic Serving Institution, the EMCC campus honors the roots and heritage of the communities it proudly serves.

EMCC, one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges, will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month starting September 17, 2013 with a Kickoff Celebration event that includes food, crafts, music, dancing, and a salsa contest. The month-long event schedule always weaves in strong learning components as well, providing students with the understanding of cultural heritage and the impact it has on-and-in all of our lives, not just the Hispanic population.

This year’s theme is “Our Stories through the Arts.” Events are scheduled from September 17 through October 15 on the EMCC campus, located on 3000 North Dysart Road in Avondale. In addition to the Kickoff Celebration, planned activities include presentations, speakers, workshops, films, and luncheons.

All events are free and open to the public.

Tues., September 17
Hispanic Heritage Kickoff Celebration
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Estrella North Plaza Lawn

This fun celebration officially begins EMCC’s tenth annual Hispanic Heritage Month with Avondale Mayor Maria Lopez-Rogers opening the event with a Welcome and Reading of the Proclamation.

At 10:15 – 11:15 a.m., renowned valley artist and musician, Zarco Guerrero, will be performing “Cantando Con Tata,” followed by the music of Mariachi Aguila at 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Lunch will include free Mexican food and the EMCC M.E.Ch.A. Club will be serving free agua frescas and pan dulce. Festivities also include a salsa tasting contest.

Zarco Guerrero presents a delightful performance of Lalo Guerrero’s most well-known parodies.  Although they share the same last name, they are not related by blood, but by fate.  The two Guerreros became great friends and performed man times together before Lalo’s death in 2005. Lalo Guerrero has been called the “father of Chicano Music.”  Born in Tucson in 1916, he created a musical and cultural legacy that has spanned across continents and influenced such artists as Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt and Cheech Marin.  Lalo was recognized as a national folk treasure by the Smithsonian Institution and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996 by President Clinton.

Thursday, September 19
Presentation & Workshop:  Mikey Omaña
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, Estrella Hall, North Community Room

Miguel A. Omaña, III presents “Breaking the Mariachi Myth.” Nobody really knows the true origins of Mariachi. From the very beginning, word-of-mouth has been the primary medium through which this art form has reached the newer generations. As a result countless rumors and misconceptions have been taken as truths.  Omaña has spent close to a decade trying to focus his understanding of mariachi style and culture. His stage mariachi upbringing, combined with his current rustic style of gigging, gives him a greater perspective on what mariachi will be in the future. Currently he is directing Mariachi Los Caballeros from Mesa, Arizona.

Friday, September 20
Film:  “Wasteland”
1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Student Union

An international award-winning documentary film about Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, who decides to travel to Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in the world on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, with the intention of helping the “pickers” improve their lives through his art. He makes art using recyclable material and photographs the results. After selling one of the portraits, he uses the money to buy the pickers a truck, equipment, and build a learning center and a library. The pickers that worked with him learns how to improve their lives and leave Jardim Gramacho. A 2010 film directed by Lucy Walker.

Tuesday, September 24
Art Exhibit: “The Royal Chicano Air Force”
Campus hours, Komatke Hall A

This exhibit contains the artistic posters of Ricardo Favela, Esteban Villa and Louie Gonzalez. The posters were not originally created for gallery walls but for urban, neighborhood art to create awareness and deliver messages of solidarity. The historical importance or this art is still relevant today and is being shared through exhibitions of the artwork.

Created in 1969 by two Chicano artists attending California State University Sacramento, Jose Montoya and Esteban Villa, the RCAF started as the "Rebel Chicano Art Front" to foster support for the Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the Sacremento-Davis area, but later, in response to a joke about what RCAF stood for, it became the "Royal Chicano Air Force." Artistic and cultural activities range from intimate poetry readings to public music festivals. The collection is owned by Xico, a nonprofit arts organization located in Chandler, Arizona, created in 1975 to nourish a greater appreciation of the cultural and spiritual heritages of the Latino and Indigenous peoples of the Americas through the arts.

Tuesday, September 24
PBS Film: “Latino Americans”
6:00 – 9:00 p.m., Plaza Gallery

The first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S. The changing and yet repeating context of American history provides a backdrop for the drama of individual lives. It is a story of immigration and redemption, of anguish and celebration, of the gradual construction of a new American identity that connects and empowers millions of people today. Interviews with entertainers, activists and political leaders. Debuts on PBS on September 17, 2013.

Wednesday, September 25
Cesar Chavez Luncheon
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m., Estrella Hall Conference Center

The college's Eighth Annual Cesar Chavez Luncheon will commemorate Cesar Chavez's life and contributions to society and will include a keynote address by Attorney Daniel R. Ortega, Jr. about the life and triumphs of César E. Chávez and how the struggles and sacrifices impact today's society as we move towards social change, equality, and justice. Ortega is dedicated to community service and is a passionate about education.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and as chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza. Free and open to public but attendance will be capped at 100. RSVP to EMCC Student Life & Leadership Office at 623-935-8807 by September 23, 2013.

Thursday, September 26
Presentation:  Azteca +  “What’s Her Story?”
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Center for Teaching & Learning

Local poet and artist, Azteca, will open this informal, open dialogue event by performing her works about embracing her Hispanic heritage and female empowerment. The EMCC Women’s Leadership Group will then present “What’s her story?” which feature women across the Maricopa College District sharing their life and career experiences that led them to their current position, highlighting many different paths to success. Guest of Honor Dr. Anna Solley, President of Phoenix College, will share her story about the career path, lessons learned along the way and advice for women and men who are interested in advancing their careers. Dr. Solley has been named a recipient of Valle del Sol’s 2013 Profiles of Success Hispanic Leadership Awards.

Friday, September 27
Film:  “The Mexican Suitcase”
1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Student Union

This film tells the story of the recovery of 4,500 negatives taken by photographers Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David Seymour during the Spanish Civil War. The film follows the journey of these negatives to Mexico and their recovery 70 years later. Directed by Trisha Ziff.

Tuesday, October 1
Storytelling Workshop:  Stella Pope Duarte
10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Plaza Gallery

National award-winning author, Stella Pope Duarte, presents “Telling Our Stories: La Sonorita Goes Global.” In this exhilarating presentation on the power of story, she will share her magical journey into the heart of storytelling beginning with her own small corner of the world, La Sonorita barrio in South Phoenix, where she was born and raised. Humorous, heartwarming and filled with barrio wisdom, her words will inspire participants to tell their own stories, and bring to life the wondrous “writer within.” She is a highly sought-after inspirational speaker on topics related to her work, as well as on issues related to women’s rights, culture, diversity, leadership, education, literacy, Chicano/Latino history, writing, and storytelling.

Friday, October 4
PBS Film: “Latino Americans”
1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Student Union
See September 24 event for details.

Thursday, October 10
Special Guest Lecture: Victor Villaseñor
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Estrella Hall Conference Center
6:00 – 7:00 p.m., Estrella Hall Conference Center
                            Followed by book sales and signing

Nationally renowned Victor Villaseñor will speak about “ Cultural Diversity & Response Time,” as it relates to setting goals and the tools needed to reach personal success. Villaseñor is a Mexican-American writer best known for his New York Times bestselling novel Rain of Gold.  His acclaimed written works and inspiring lectures have earned him numerous awards and endorsements, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination. A gifted and accomplished speaker, Villaseñor, in his candid and heartfelt manner, brings a fresh perspective to a number of universal themes, including pride in cultural heritage, the strength of family, dedication to education and personal achievement, the power of the written word, world harmony and peace.

Friday, October 11
Film:  “Which Way Home”
1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Student Union

A feature documentary film that follows unaccompanied child migrants on their journey through Mexico, as they try to reach the United States. Olga and Freddy, nine-year old Hondurans, who are desperately trying to reach their parents in the U.S.; Jose, a ten-year old El Salvadoran, who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center; and Kevin, a canny, streetwise fourteen-year old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach the U.S. and send money back to her. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow. They are the children you never hear about; the invisible ones.

Tuesday, October 15
Shrine Box Workshop
10:00 – 11:30 a.m., Center for Teaching & Learning

Learn how to make your own shrine box that you can display for Dia De Los Muertos. This is a creative, fun, and visual art activity that helps celebrate and commemorate the life of someone who has passed away. Bring a small cardboard or tin box, and some personal items such as photos and trinkets of the loved one that has passed. There will also be items and materials available for decoration. Facilitators will provide instructions and guidance if needed.