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by Maria Ferrer
Founder, The Latina Book Club


It’s been all over the news this week how Dartmouth College’s “Phiesta” charity fund raiser by two of the school’s Greek organizations was cancelled because one Mexican-American student was offended by the party’s theme and she made her displeasure widely known.

Has Cinco de Mayo become another day and excuse to drink and party?  Can the same not be said of St. Patrick’s Day and Puerto Rico’s Independence Day?

Whether you think the “Phiesta” is offensive or not, let’s use this incident to get away from the Mexican stereotypes.   Mexicans are more than sombreros, fat mustaches, tequila shots and guacamole.

Mexicans are a proud people.  Their culture dates back way before the Pilgrims ever settled in Jamestown.  Mexicans had already tamed the Wild West before Texas was Texas.    Their aqueducts rivaled those of Rome; their alphabet and mathematical skills were equal to those of ancient Egypt and China.  Mexico has survived Kings, dictators, coups, countercoups and numerous civil wars.  Mexicans, like all people, love their country, their children and dream of a better life.  Let’s celebrate that!

And, let’s celebrate than on May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army won a surprising victory against the French in a tiny town called Puebla.  Mexicans worldwide commemorate the battle’s anniversary as a symbol of the country’s strength and endurance, and the world has joined in on the celebration.

I too will be raising my glass on May 5 in honor of a proud people, and the call for freedom and liberty.  Viva, Mexico!


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