On Monday night, sounds of upbeat salsa music filled the Weyerhaeuser Boardroom as Adelante! kicked off its annual [email protected] week with t-shirt printing and music.
“[This week] is the culmination of what Adelante! stands for,” said co-chair Adan Martinez ’16. “It’s one week where we can celebrate what it means to be Latino at Macalester.”
“I’m just excited to see everything we’ve put in…actually happen,” said Abby Cox ’16, who is also a co-chair. “We’ve put in months and months of planning.”
“What we start the year with is never what [email protected] week is,” Martinez said, explaining how the theme for each year is chosen. “Last year we focused a lot on education … and this year we wanted to take a more innovative approach.”
The events of the week focus on many different art forms, which Cox said was the launching pad for this year’s broader migration theme.
“Originally, we didn’t really have a concrete idea,” she said. “A couple of people had ideas that had a lot to do with art.” Through what Cox called a “backward process,” Adelante! eventually came up with its main theme of artistic expressions of migration.
At their kickoff event, Adelante! members transferred a quote from Elie Wiesel onto t-shirts using paint and a handmade print. The quote read, “Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”
On Tuesday, Adelante! was joined by local artist Gustavo Lira in Davis Court of Markim Hall for mural painting. Martinez and Cox agreed that this was the event that they were most excited about for [email protected] week.
“[Lira] seems really passionate about what he’s doing and I think for him to come into the Macalester community … that’s really exciting,” Cox said.
“It’s definitely an answer to ‘what does migration mean to you, and and what does it mean to belong?’” Martinez said about the mural.
A screening of the documentary “The Undocumented” took place in the Hall of Fame Room on Thursday—after press time—followed by a discussion with director Marco Williams. “It’s about families that are around the Arizona border,” said Cox. “I think Marco Williams’ intention is to take people who were previously unheard and let their voices be heard.”
Adelante! member Francesca Zepeda ’16 reached out to Williams after watching a preview on an internet blog.
“I thought it portrayed an interesting side of the undocumented struggle that wasn’t romanticized at all,” Zepeda wrote in an email. “We’re all incredibly passionate about our campaign and really excited to be able to bring a professional who is committed to the same issues we devote ourselves to and who has created such a pivotal work.”
Cox also expressed gratitude for the collaborative nature of [email protected] Week and Adelante! in general, saying that individual members, like Zepeda, stepped up and reached out to the different artists who came to campus.
“Adelante! is really horizontal and everyone brings something to the table, which is really valuable,” Cox said.
Saturday will feature the [email protected] week cultural show, which will feature dancing from Adelante! members and performances by other orgs, including MASECA, Bodacious and the Sirens. The event will take place in Kagin at 8:00 p.m.
“It’ll be really interesting to have groups not typically associated with Adelante!” Cox said.
The showcase will be followed by the [email protected] week Kagin dance.
In addition, Adelante! continued its campaign against casual use of the word illegal, which it deem “the I-word.” The org partnered with the Department of Multicultural Life in its More Than Words campaign to educate the student body about the harmful impact that the word “illegal” has on their peers who may be immigrants or from immigrant families.
“There’s something really beautiful about it,” Martinez said about the increased awareness of not using the word. “You rehumanize people who have historically been dehumanized.”
Members said that what [email protected] week comes down to is a celebration of the hard work that Adelante! has done in the past year and of letting their voices be heard across campus.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done in planning this week’s events, but more importantly I’m so proud to be a part of such an amazing group of people and I’m so excited to celebrate this week with them and the entire Macalester community,” Zepeda wrote.
“We’re here, we’re Latino and we’re proud,” Martinez said.