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Date Created: 04/04/16
Carly Eck Cultural Event #1- Little Immigrants For my first cultural event, I went with the class to see a presentation called Little Immigrants. I had no idea what to expect when I walked in, but it turned out to be a documentary video. As the title suggests, the movie covered that story of families in Mexico that try to illegally sneak children (hence the little immigrants) over the border in order to give them a chance at a better life. In particular, it followed the story of one family that had a little boy and a little girl that were being snuck over by their grandma so that they could reunite with their mother who had left 8 years prior. After many scary attempts and fails (and after thousands of dollars) they are able to join their mother in America. Previously, I had thought pretty negatively about illegal immigrants. I understand that everyone wants a chance at being able to live “happily ever after” and for a lot of lower-class people in Mexico, America seems like the answer to their problems, but I always thought of it as a burden. I guess I never even realized just how tricky it was to get across the border. People not only risk their/their children’s lives, but they also spend thousands of dollars and put all of their trust in these people who smuggle humans for a living. It is also crazy to think that it is literally just a fence. They can stand on one side in Mexico and reach out and touch their relatives on the other side, yet they have an entire country against them once they cross that line. The video really changed my perspective about immigrants; after all they are after exactly what I am: a promising future. It was really cool to actually be able to Skype with the director of the film. Her Carly Eck passion and drive for the topic and issue at hand was inspiring. People spent time asking her questions and she listened and answered each one with care. It is amazing that one woman puts herself in so much danger to raise awareness about the problems and to try and help. If she can make a difference and bring wide-spread awareness (and hopefully change other’s perspectives like she did mine), then I can make a one-woman difference too. Cultural Event #2- Las Cafeteras I recruited a group of my friends and dragged them along with me to this concert. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was awesome! My (non- spanish taking) friends all really loved it too. Our friend group has a real interest in music and it was cool to be exposed to a music genre that we hadn’t really been around before. Las Cafeteras are from LA and they are a group of young people that use a mixture of Spanglish to sing and create entertaining music. It is hard not to dance along to their music and the instruments they use were so cool—some things I had never ever seen before. The coolest part is that they carry a political message that fits nicely along with my first event, the issue of immigration. They are all about the movement of immigrants to America and the preach the message of not just tolerance, but also acceptance. I typically love instrumental music so this concert was perfect for a person like me. Las Cafeteras sing about the struggles of finding love and happiness in the “concrete jungle” that is Los Angeles. It is awesome that Grand Valley offers events like this for free. It is Carly Eck something that I would never have attended if it wasn’t required, but because I enjoyed it so much I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for cool concerts and other events of the like in the future. It think it is important as a college student to immerse yourself in as many new cultures and ideas as possible. After all, I came to GV to become more well-rounded. Las Cafeteras looked like they were having so so much fun the entire time. It was a great experience for all of my friends and I. I actually find myself pulling up their music now on my computer just for fun because it all has such a great beat and is just really fun to dance around to! Cultural Event #3- Dia de los Muertos The last event I attended was the Dia de los Muertos alter ceremony in the atrium of the library. Grand Valley brought in artist Roli Mancera to build the alter to celebrate this tradition. In high school we were required to make miniature alters for our favorite person from history. I, not caring much in high school (and not knowing that I would go on to take Spanish in college), managed to slop together a mini shrine of Johnny Cash the night before the project was due. I had no idea how significant of a day this was in Mexico! After reading a bit about it before had, I decided to head to the library with a picture of my grandpa for the alter. He died of cancer and he was just the silliest man ever. It felt cool to take part in something that was university- wide. Roli Mancera was awesome too. He is a thirty-something year old who was born in Mexico. He now lives in Grand Rapids and uses his art to share Carly Eck his Mexican culture with Grand Rapids. He even managed to enter some of his drawings into Artprize. They are fantastic and all carry major themes that he grew up around. Taking a look at other cultures, especially when you are studying a language, is crucial to fully comprehending everything. Dia de los Muertos is an awesome celebrations and I wish we had something like it here in the US! It’s a time to commemorate and celebrate those loved ones who have passed away. The alter stayed up in the library for a week and each time I went in there, I checked it out. I know my grandpa was probably smiling about it all. These cultural events seemed like they were going to be a burden at first, but they turned out to actually be one of my favorite parts of the class this semester.