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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Mercado En Sureste: A cultural market of Hispanic festivities

SE students Christopher Munoz and Blue Woorlsy sharing a dance with each other. Ariel Desantiago/The Collegian
SE students Christopher Munoz and Blue Woorlsy sharing a dance with each other.
Ariel Desantiago/The Collegian

campus editor

SE students explored new cultures and salsa danced their way through the Mercado Cultural event. 

A partnership between the Intercultural Network and student activities on Sept. 15 created a day of activities including a salsa dancing class, lotería and the chance to taste a variety of foods. The program Encouraging Latinas to Lead, Achieve, Succeed, the psychology club and soccer club were present too.

To begin the event, there were a number of tables featuring different foods in the Hispanic culture including chips with salsa and queso, fresh produce, street tacos, elote, paletas and much more in the Main Commons.

Simultaneously, a student had the opportunity to play lotería, a Hispanic version of the game bingo and enter a drawing for a prize. 

Coordinator of the intercultural student engagement Larry Jefferson was one of the organizers for the event. Jefferson believed that it was important for students to attend the event for a variety of reasons including dismantling harmful stereotypes.

“Bringing out the awareness of being culturally competent and allowing students to be more culturally aware is a great reason for students to be a part of this.” Jefferson said.

Student development associate Frankie Ward also agreed that bringing awareness to the Hispanic culture is important.

“This helps students by bringing awareness to the Hispanic Culture,” said Ward. “It’s very important for students to be able to see and experience, and even learn from their peers. It gives students the opportunity to network with other students and experience students beyond their culture.” 

Ward also elaborated on other aspects of the event, like food insecurity and how it relates to students being able to proceed through the day without worrying about food.

“You always throw in a little extra just to make sure, because a lot of students on our campus eat at 11 p.m.,” Ward said. “Events that have cultural food or anything of that sort can help with food insecurity.”

Food and the game of lotería were SE student Hannah Williams’ favorite thing about the event. She had heard about it in her childhood and she had seen it for the first time in real life in Mercado Cultural.

“I really liked the food but what I liked the most was the bingo game. Something about it made me really excited, because I remember reading about those when I was younger but I never got a chance to see them in real life until then.” Williams said. 

Williams agrees with Jefferson as she discusses her opinion on ending hatred amongst different cultural communities. 

“I think celebrating and knowing each other’s cultures is a large step to us ending all the hatred,” Williams said. “I feel like most hatred is fear and fear comes from us not being able to understand each other.”

To Hispanic SE student Makayla Salas it reminded her of El Paso, where she’s originally from.

“My favorite part was the food because it reminded me of back home and there is a lot of street food in that area that you don’t get here.” Salas recalls.

She also thought it was important to highlight other cultures.

“For other types of cultures, it would be really great, because other people only see aspects of another person’s culture on social media and not what it’s truly about.”

After playing lotería and grabbing a taste of some Hispanic food, the crowd moved to the North Ballroom where a salsa class was being taught by Claudia Orcasitas from the University of Texas at Arlington.

SE student Adetokunbo Azubike shares the same idea on celebrating other people’s culture, saying that it is very important for inclusivity.

“It’s very important for inclusiveness. Culturally, it’s good to know who you are and know the people around you and you’ll be able to communicate effectively with the opposite culture.”

Azubike participated in the salsa class that was provided and said that it was her favorite part of the event.

“I loved salsa dancing and I was trying to do the different moves!” said Azubike as she imitated a salsa move that she had just learned.

There was food awarded to the people who learned the salsa dances and after the three hour event.

“Allowing students to be more aware of the Hispanic culture and to take advantage of events like this to know more about people that dont look like them is a great reason to be a part of this.” Jefferson said.

Jefferson said that he believed that the event was successful because students had the chance to engage in conversations with individuals from the Hispanic culture, learn about the different types of foods, and entertainment in a fun and educational atmosphere.

“Most of all it was nice to see other people explore things they wouldn’t taste or have on their own,” SE student Rene Salas said. “Having events like this in the future would be beneficial for other cultures as a way for people to increase their perspective on the world as a whole.”

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