Mexican Independence Day celebrated on campus

Sept. 22, 2014

Kyle Guthrie
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Over two hundred years ago Mexico revolted against Spain and gained its independence.

Now, we celebrate their victory with UCCS’ own Mexican Independence Day festivities.

Grito de Delores, or the Cry of Delores, is celebrated every Sept. 16 and commemorates the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence.

To honor this day, several events were organized by Latino Student Union president John Martinez.

The first event was a piñata bash at the El Pomar Plaza where students lined up to take a swing at a multi-colored hanging burro stuffed with candy. “It’s the one thing that kind of resonates with everybody,” Martinez said. “A lot of times people think of piñatas, or sombreros, or something like that. We want to use anything familiar like that to spark an idea in people’s minds.”

The piñata bash attracted students to partake in the festivities, including senior mechanical engineering student Eric Poling.

“I love it, I think it’s great,” Poling said. “I think in the past we’ve only been about one culture, so it’s very nice to see other cultures coming to the forefront, and I like to take part in it.”

Former president of LSU and senior criminal justice major Michelle Esquivel is now a student advisor for the union. “

In the four years that I’ve been here, this is the first time that I have seen something like this,” Esquivel said. “It’s cool that they’re actually doing something for Hispanic Heritage Month.”

The festivities continued Wednesday night as Hispanic author and lawyer Michael Nava spoke at the University Center to discuss his book “The City of Palaces.”

A graduate of Colorado College, Nava was inspired to write novels about individuals whose voices are silenced by society. Nava made the decision to write about repressed characters when he was unable to find any books on homosexuality that treated it as something other than a mental illness.

The Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness and Community arranged the reading to promote awareness of alternate cultures and lifestyles to college students. Their goal is to promote student engagement in discussions about social identities, cultures, experiences and viewpoints.

Nava’s book “The City of Palaces,” is a historical novel about the Mexican Revolution that incorporates his views on the historic event and what independence truly is.

“Injustice is the wound from which I write,” Nava said.

The celebration of Grito de Delores stems from the planned revolt of criollos, pure-blooded Spanish people born in the Spanish colonies in Mexico, against the Spanish colonial government. The revolt was led by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

On September 16, 1810, Hildalgo and fellow revolutionaries Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama ordered the church bells of his congregation to be rung, and encouraged the gathered crowd to revolt against the colonial government.

Four days after this call to arms the Siege of Guanajuato was fought and is recognized as the first major engagement of the war. After over a decade of war, Mexico was declared independent of Spain on Sept. 21, 1821 in the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire.