April 27, 2007

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Con Orgullo

It is important to recognize that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It originally commemorated the resounding victory Mexican troops had over the insurmountable, invading French soldiers. After the Mexican American War, Mexican communities in the United States celebrated Cinco de Mayo as a means to express pride in their history and culture. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicano activists focused attention on Cinco de Mayo celebrations to assert the legacies of self-determination and resistance. Then, the alcohol industry took over the celebration. At best, the alcohol industry’s Cinco de Mayo marketing and promotional campaigns trivialize and demean the Mexican culture, denigrating women and pitching over consumption of alcohol with slogans like “Drinko for Cinco” and “Let’s Party.” At worst, the misappropriation of Cinco de Mayo demonstrates the cynicism of a profit hungry industry that has no respect or boundaries when it comes to exploiting a community already besieged by poverty, lack of education and little to no access to health care.

The mission of the South Bay Cinco de Mayo Con Orgullo Para la Familia Coalition is to promote the true meaning and family nature of the Cinco de Mayo holiday, while creating a greater awareness of the destructive impacts of alcohol and tobacco upon the Latino community and other cultures. The motto of our Cinco de Mayo con Orgullo (with pride) campaign is “Nuestra Cultura No Se Vende” which means “Our Culture is Not For Sale.”

2007’s Cinco de Mayo con Orgulllo festival will be held again at Kimball Park in National City on Saturday May 5, 2007 from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The theme of the Cinco de Mayo celebration is, “Celebrate with Dignity.”.

The Cinco de Mayo Con Orgullo para la familia campaign reflects a strong policy advocacy approach to preventing alcohol-related problems with a culturally relevant approach to community health and well-being. ‘La cultura cura’, roughly translated as culture cures, is a traditional healing concept that was adapted by early Latino mental health professionals as an intervention strategy. It is based upon the premise that a person’s cultural and spiritual traditions can be a positive factor in reducing and preventing mental health problems (including alcohol-related problems), especially if an individual faces the deeply rooted barriers of racism and discrimination. This campaign applies the best of both worlds by combining the ‘cultura cura’ concept with strong policy issues to address alcohol availability, industry sponsorship and promotion at the policy level.

Day of the event: Food, live entertainment, children’s activities, and informational booths will be made available to the public. Food will tastefully reflect the Mexican flavor while entertainment will showcase the traditional heritage of local mariachi and ballet folklorico ballet dancers.

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