Category Archives: Culture

Cinco de Mayo celebration livens up the campus with Mexican culture

The Spanish Club on the Ammerman Campus held a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Eaton’s Neck room on May 7. Festivities included a presentation on Mexico’s history, Hispanic cuisine and a live mariachi band. Faculty advisors Kristin Peters and Cathy Garcia-Hill coordinated the event.

The fiesta was held in Eaton’s Neck room on May 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Kristin Peters, left, and Cathy Garcia-Hill are Spanish instructors as well as the faculty advisors for the Spanish Club.

A common misconception is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is actually celebrated to honor Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War (1861-1867).

An arrangement of tissue paper flowers were on the front table so the girls can wear them in their hair. Sombreros were also available for the gentlemen.

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An assortment of traditional Hispanic cuisine was available, including empanadas, fried plantains and rice with beans.

The live mariachi band livened up the room with traditional Mexican music. They also took song requests from guests.

SCCC students Alicia, and Nick enjoyed the festivities with some empanadas and a complementary Cinco de Mayo-themed word search game.

Fun fact: More than 81 million avocados are consumed on Cinco de Mayo every year in the United States alone.

Suffolk Sentinel reporter Mike Guido got to experience the fiesta as well. Check out his audio piece of the event below.

 

Fun fact: Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in the United States, with the largest celebration being held in Los Angeles. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico. 

All photos by Paula Schultz

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‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’: Spreading awareness about oppression

A group of students who participated at the event, walking through and looking at the signs posted on the walls. Photo by: Maria Camila Hernandez. (April 10, 2018)

On April 10, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, together with Campus Activities and the Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding, held an all-day interactive workshop about forms of oppression and stereotypes in society.

The event, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,”  was part of a month-long series of activities called “Equal Justice for All” held college-wide. April 10’s event was an experience-based activity, where groups of students could walk between two walls, and look at signs about different forms of discrimination and oppression that were displayed.

Subjects such as racism, immigration, anti-Semitism, sexism and ableism  — discrimination against disabled people — were explained to students in form of graphs, charts, pictures and news. Students at the event could relate to some of the terms, as was the case of Laura Garcia, a liberal arts major and president of the Student Government Association.

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Signs, pictures, news and charts were among the elements displayed on the walls.

Garcia comes from a Mexican immigrant family. Even though she doesn’t have to deal with the remarks of oppression, her family does. “My parents or family members who don’t speak the language very well, do face more discrimination when going out. So the event did hit close to home in that instance,” said Garcia.

The Eaton’s Neck Room in the Babylon Student Center was packed each hour, as different groups of people went in to live the experience. Around 30 people were led to sit in a circle for the activities following the walk through the walls. They were given random labels attached to their backs, and then they had to guess the label by stereotyped expressions associated with the word.

“We want to create awareness, to enhance communication with others. It is important now, because with the Internet, people are constantly communicating with others from different cultures. The world is diverse, and we need to learn how to connect better,” said Malika Batchie Lockhart, assistant of the Multicultural Affairs office.

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Malika Batchie Lockhart, assistant of the Multicultural Affairs office, talks to the attendees about labels and what they mean for a person.

In addition, students were shown a video regarding microaggression, generally defined as indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group. In this way, students could understand such term and the effects it has in the process of communicating with others.

“People are treated differently and given privileges depending on who they are. We have to see from different perspectives to all the alternatives to look at things,” said James Banks, college coordinator of Multicultural Affairs.

All the information and the subject matters of the program were intended to leave students with a sense of respect and tolerance towards others. As Batchie Lockhart said, “People don’t walk around with labels, so you don’t know who are you hurting with the things you say.”

 

SCCC students embrace Black History Month

Photo: Xavia Simmons a Communications in Journalism major at Suffolk Community College. Photo by Jacob Alvear

For students at Suffolk, Black History Month held many meanings.

Trenton Cockerl Patrick, a language major who has a combination of Jamaican, Native American and Irish heritage, said Black History Month “is just another reason why all blacks should come together and celebrate, work hard, and ultimately succeed greater because at the end of the day we all are one body.”

Kwabena Shine Jr., a business major who recently moved from Africa, Black History Month means that “the lives of black people are not taken for granted anymore and our ancestors’ struggle to victory are celebrated and appreciated.”

Kwabena Shine Jr. is a business administration major at Suffolk who recently moved from Africa. Photo by Jacob Alvear

For Xavia Simmons, “To me it means showing our culture our excellence and what we as a culture bring to the table that table being America. Also, just embracing, which I believe at this time in history is extremely important….”

Simmons says she and her family tend to look at February as just another month in the year.

“We don’t have any traditions in particular; we just celebrate it by acknowledging the fact that it’s Black History Month. But generally, we celebrate it every month and by that I mean for us it’s every month. We tend to embrace it all year round.”

Business major Zach Aberg, who has German and Hungarian roots, likes to watch documentaries that shine light upon great black leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

To Aberg, “Black History Month is an important month to recognize black history and black excellence. It is important to share cultures and understand each other’s history.”

SCCC celebrates the Lunar New Year

At a Feb. 10 celebration of the Lunar New Year hosted by the SCCC Asian Culture Club, tradition and culture were the main dishes on display.

The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays in the Asian culture. It is the start of their year based on the lunar calendar. There is no specific date for this celebration, but it is generally held between Jan. 21 and Feb. 10. This year it was Feb. 16. Each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese zodiac, and 2018 is the year of the dog.

Red and gold, which represent good luck, positivity and festivity in the Asian culture, decorated the entrance.

“There are different ways to celebrate this holiday, depending on the country. What we do here is a Chinese celebration, since there is a big Chinese community around,” said Linh Cai, a student at SCCC and member of the Asian Culture Club.

Suffolk County is the home of more than 50,000 Asian people, which represents a 3.7 percent of the county’s population, according to Suburban Stats.

A Tray of Togetherness, an eight-compartment plate composed of preserved vegetables for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, and seeds of plants for good wishes, was placed on the entrance. Next to it, there was a basket with red envelopes, which people give on New Year to their family members for good luck and abundance.

Sponsored by the Office of Campus Activities and the Asian Culture Club, the event was held in the Montauk Point Room of the Babylon Student Center and included members of the college community, as well as representatives and families from the Long Island Little Dragon Chinese School and Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu School.

“This is a space for families and all of us to enjoy. We are here to celebrate together,” said professor Vera Hu-Hyneman, faculty advisor of the Asian Culture Club.

The tables had tangerines, as the lucky fruit, arranged in groups of eight by table, since eight is also a symbol of luck. In addition, traditional food was served, such as rice, noodles, sweet and sour beef, spring rolls and dumplings.

Artistic acts, such as the Lion Dance, performed by the Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu School, and some storytelling performed by students of Long Island Little Dragons Chinese School, immersed the attendants into significant representations of the culture.

This culture has a big influence locally, and they wanted to create a space on campus to cherish their traditions away from their homelands.

Adriana Gonzalez, who attended the event, said, “It is important to encourage more people to participate, so we can open our minds to different ways to see the world around us.”

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The Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu school performing the Lion Dance, a tradition in Asia, while people from different ethnicities enjoy this cultural exchange.