Saturday, October 27th, we gathered to celebrate cultural diversity in the bay area at the Inaugural Cultural Fusion Festival. The spirit of collaboration was palatable as many business, community and political leaders along with active community members enjoyed food and music from the eclectic mix of artists in attendance.
The goal was to bring folks together in the spirit of unity to discuss the rich advantages we have from all the heritages living right here in our own backyard.
Presenters ranged from nutrition (Tranont) and art experts (Macchu Pichu Gallery) to youth empowerment inspired jewelry and crafts. The day also included a panel discussion on Growing Up Biracial.
The day started with a yoga practice with Kat Da Silva from Root to Rise and Cheryl Robledo from Samadhi Yoga of San Jose. Attendees were immediately put at ease as they were put through an uplifting and inspiring meditation at the close of the session. Music was then provided by Peter Colclasure and Freya Cellista. A chilling haunting duo featuring unique contemporary compositions with piano and cello.
Attendees were able to mingle in the main courtyard where information tables were set up while DJ Vex One and Timo on Steel Drum kept the crowds entertained.
The panel discussion featured Jose Cong and Emily Lam which shared their experiences growing up in search of identity and a sense of place. It’s that sense of place that Silicon Valley residents struggle with as we strive to communicate in this ever-changing and global landscape. The truth is that with the advent of technology, we are all global citizens. Broadcasting worldwide in a much bigger community that’s tied together right in our own backyard. The lines of who we are getting blurred. How do we embrace our past, present, and future?
Following the panel discussion, the audience was shaken with traditional Aztec dancing with Parents and Students of the Milpitas area known as Xicmecayolt. The ancient drums reverberating in the very same valley they had once rung out many years ago. An attendee asked me where the culture of those drums came from. I answered, “Right here, you’re standing where those drums echoed many years ago.”
The afternoon concluded with a stirring performance by The Kalakari Crew, built of artists and activists born and raised in California. Growing up organizing for social justice while spray-painting neighborhood walls with messages of resistance. As children of Punjabi immigrants, they were raised in strict households, turning to hip-hop and graffiti as tools of creative freedom and powerful self-expression. The message was clear, culture unites.
Overall the afternoon gave our community a chance to network and talk about what we need to do to embrace all our cultures. Milpitas truly is a reflection of immense diversity and strength. Thank you San Jose City College Milpitas Extension for once again allowing our community to strive in the wonderfully rich valley.
“Today, more than ever, it’s important for all Americans to celebrate diversity and inclusion because it’s the best antidote to cultural and political violence. I felt proud to be an American as I enjoyed the activities of the Cultural Fusion Festival!” Michael Mooney, Director - San José City College - Milpitas College Extension
We would like to give special thank to Assemblymember Chu for having Field Representative, Anurag Pal, from his office, present both San Jose City College and Silicon Valley Latino with Certificates of Recognition for bringing the community together through our Inaugural Cultural Fusion Festival. We look forward to seeing you at the 2nd Annual Cultural Fusion Festival next year!
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