Dancing for Independence

Story and photo by Stefani Ventura, Reporter

It had just stopped raining before the music of Mariachi Estrella was heard around the Riverside Campus. ACC staff and students gathered to witness the eighth annual Diez y Seis event.

“It’s a long standing event. We co-host it with former Texas State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos for about eight years,” Keisha Gray, coordinator of the Center for

Public Policy & Political Studies, said. An event many Tejanos and Mexican-Americans are proud to take part in, Diez y Seis, which translates to sixteen, was not just an ordinary day in September 1810. It’s the most celebrated day in Mexico, the beginning of the Mexican War of independence.

“Libertad! Viva!” said former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos. “When I was a little boy, four or five years old, I wondered what they were saying. I came to find out later that it was a cry for independence, a cry for liberty and more of what we ought to have in the world.”

“El Grito de Dolores” (Cry of Dolores), is affectionately known for the memorable cry of Miguel Hidalgo, priest and leader of the decade-long war which resulted in victory for Mexico.

As the event takes place during Hispanic Heritage Month, Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos encouraged the importance of voting as Hispanics are the nation’s largest ethnic minority.

“As the Hispanic community takes pride in their heritage, it’s also very important to make a difference and have an opinion of what the future will hold as fellow Texans,” Cascos said. “Everybody hears how the Hispanic population continues to grow in Texas. But what difference does it make how fast this population is growing if we don’t exercise that right to vote?”

With minutes left, the dancers of Ballet Folklorico took over the stage in bright, traditional dresses and Johnny Degolladoy Su Conjunto, one of the most prolific songwriting groups in conjunto music, closed Diez y Seis with “Party Time Polka.”