Macalester’s strong commitment to internationalism and multiculturalism is apparent in several different cultural organizations on campus. Adelante! aims to promote awareness and appreciation for the US [email protected], [email protected] and Latin American culture, and recently hosted its annual [email protected] week.
Adan Martinez ’16, one of the co-chairs of Adelante!, said that this year’s [email protected] week theme was “…rehumanizing those who have been dehumanized.”
The club also promoted the Drop the “I” Word campaign, the “I” word being illegal.
“This year, we used the arts to promote the theme. We brought in organizations from around the Twin Cities and guests outside Minnesota to help us guide the project throughout the [email protected] week,” Martinez said.
Martinez credited Francesca Zepeda ’16, a former co-chair of Adelante!, for providing the idea of incorporating the arts. The club brought in various guests including a local muralist Gustavo Lira to help with the creation of a mural that embodies this year’s theme, a New York University professor Marco Williams to watch and talk about his documentary The Undocumented and a Minnesota-based Aztec dance troupe for the performance showcase. Other student organizations, like Ua Ke, the Macalester Association for Sub-Continental Ethnic and Cultural Awareness, Bodacious, the Sirens and Zabumba also contributed to the success of the [email protected] week.
“Since this year’s theme is [essentially] about migration, we posed two overarching questions: ‘What does migration mean to you?’ and ‘What does it mean to belong?’ The mural [that we finished with Lira’s help], has this year’s logo of a human butterfly and is being considered for the Institute for Global Citizenship’s artwork for next year,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the showing of The Undocumented was an especially memorable part of the week. The Undocumented recounts the challenges many migrants face when they are trying to cross the US-Mexico border.
“[The Undocumented] doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of border-crossing,” Martinez said. “People are literally dying to get [to the US], yet no one is making an issue out of it. For this to go unnoticed by [both] the US and Mexican governments is a little outrageous, in my opinion. And [by the end of the film], everybody was crying.”
On the other hand, the performance showcase offered the Macalester community a chance to enjoy the diverse array of Latin American culture.
Lena Pransky ’16, an Adelante! board member in charge of the club’s public relations, brought in her a capella group, the Sirens, to sing.
“It was great to bring the Sirens to [email protected] week,” she said. “We performed a song in Spanish, which was fun, especially because so many of us do not speak Spanish. It was definitely a new experience for us linguistically.”
However, Adelante! is not all about hosting its annual [email protected] week, but rather community building. When Martinez was visiting Mac as a prospective first-year, he stayed with Omar Leal ’15, an active member of Adelante!, and truly enjoyed the tight bond the club members shared with each other.
“Omar, as a very involved member of Adelante!, had shown what Mac could offer: a small, relaxing community. My PF experience with him is the major reason I chose Mac over other schools,” Martinez said.
Usually, Adelante! holds its meetings every Tuesday at 9 p.m. at the Cultural House. They are very informal and start off with intro questions to get conversations going. For some meetings, members volunteer to share a piece of their cultural identities and lead the club meetings. Activities include dance classes, games and cooking.
“We’ve been around since 1960, and we’re trying to back away from so much political activity and focus on community building instead. A lot of people may think this club is only for those who identify themselves as [email protected], but we encourage everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity, to come join,” Martinez said.