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The State Hornet

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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
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Kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with El Grito

Annual concert honors Mexican Independence Day
Members+of+Banda+Uriense+look+out+to+the+crowd+at+the+Mexican+Independence+Day+celebration+at+Sac+State+Thursday%2C+Sept.+14%2C+2023.+This+annual+celebration+is+called+El+Grito.
Angie Kallas
Members of Banda Uriense look out to the crowd at the Mexican Independence Day celebration at Sac State Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023. This annual celebration is called El Grito.

Gamma Zeta Alpha Inc. fraternity members bounced around the University Ballroom at Sacramento State before the El Grito event Thursday, eagerly waiting to greet the flood of people as the banda set up.

UNiQUE and Gamma Zeta Alpha Inc. have been hosting the campus concert, which celebrates Mexican Independence Day and commemorates the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, annually for the past nine years.

Students and community members were invited to dance and listen to music from Banda Uriense and DJ LG at the all-ages event.

UNiQUE Student Assistant James Martinez mentioned El Grito could be the largest UNiQUE event of the semester. This year, UNiQUE’s Hispanic event gave out a record-breaking 1,500 wristbands at the door. Martinez said in years past, the event had about 500 attendees.

Students like Ruthie Alcaraz said they were surprised by the event’s turnout.

“I didn’t think there were going to be this many people,” Alcaraz said. “I thought no one was going to come and no one wanted to dance to banda music. When we got here, I got nervous.”

Ian Menz, a UNiQUE student assistant, attracted students to the dance floor all night and started break dancing toward the end of the event.

“I enjoy dancing, and I want other people to enjoy it, too,” Menz said. “It’s about the community and I want the people to enjoy it as much as I do. I don’t want it to be like ‘you have to know certain moves’ or ‘you have to be good.’ It’s not about that. Just move your body.”

Students started making dance circles and took turns dancing in the middle. Banda is a Mexican music genre typically paired with dancing across from each other and stomping to the beat or an intimate couples dance.

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UNiQUE student volunteer Allison Goodwill said the event was energetic and provided a way to embrace Hispanic culture.

“I would describe tonight as energetic and dynamic,” Goodwill said. “I volunteered for this event because I feel like it’s a good representation of our culture, and I think it’s a great way to build community. ”

The El Grito event’s location moved last minute from Serna Plaza to the University Ballroom.

“With the new venue outside, the grass wasn’t quite ready for people to be on it,” UNiQUE Programs Advisor Ajamu Lamumba said. “We didn’t want to be a part of damaging any work.”

The Serna Plaza near the University Union was under construction during the summer of 2023. The new tiered seating and shade structure made its debut on Aug. 24, 2023.

“Even if you’re not Chicana/Chicano, this is a great way to embrace everybody,” Goodwill said. “Tonight is just a lot of love and botas.”

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About the Contributor
Angie Kallas, Visuals Staffer
(she/her) Angie Kallas is a fifth-year student majoring in english with a minor in journalism. She joined The State Hornet in the fall semester of 2023. She looks forward to developing her career in professional writing.
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