Culture & Student Life

Diversity in Culture Festival

I went to the Diversity in Culture Festival at Ventura College. I had the pleasure to speak with Maria Teresa Flumerodo, also known as Gigi. Gigi is a professor of Anthropology at Ventura College and one of the organizers for the Diversity Culture Festival. I asked some questions regarding the event. Some of the questions I asked included, “When did the festival start, how did they get the idea to have Doloras come speak at the event this year, and what are some of the other events going on in the Festival?” This is the 8th annual event and it started in 2016. Before it got started there was an initiative to have awareness about diversity. They ended up receiving a grant to start the festival. Maria took it over in 2017.

This year’s festival had both virtual and on campus events.The theme was health and wellness. Maria said they wanted to focus on Mental Health. Which is so important right now and especially with college students. They had different performers like Yaminah Legohn- Afro dance, a drum circle and much more. There were also clubs and different vendors. I would recommend this event to anyone. It was a nice experience and you can learn something new that perhaps you didn’t know before, but don’t worry if you didn’t make this year’s event there will be one next year. They also had yummy food like an empanada food truck. I wanted to try one but sadly I had to leave early. 

I went on Thursday the thirteenth of April to see Doloras Huerta speak. She had a nice sense of humor while still delivering her thoughts on the importance of diversity and human rights. She is a Latino Labor leader, activist, and community organizer. In 1962 she and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union. I think it was incredible to have someone who has accomplished so much speak at Ventura College. It surely was inspirational.

I asked Maria about Dolores and she said last year Dolores was on zoom for the festival. She talked about her life as a human rights activist, civil rights activist and feminist. Maria said it just wasn’t enough time. So they decided to contact her and have her come live to the event. She said that she is here also because the district came out with a resolution last year honoring her. So they were presenting her with the resolution for the Ventura Community College district. Maria said they wanted to say thank you to her for all her work and to inspire the students to get started in activism. 

Here is a short video I took of her speaking at the event.

After Dolores spoke, students asked her questions. Here is a video of a question she answered.

Lastly, they really want to focus on joy and celebrating the college experience. Maria stated, “Having the festival there gives our campus a feel of being at an educational institution and I think we can highlight our students’ identity of the important aspects of the community. It’s really nice to bring in different things that you normally wouldn’t see. It’s really nice to give time for reflection and celebration. The festival allows for people to come together. Even if we aren’t participating but by just being in the audience.”

Showing young kids diversity is important and can be fun for them. I would definitely go again to see the other dances. I hope you get to go see what the diversity festival has to offer.

By Amber Cedillos

I grew up in Ventura and went to Buena High School. I currently am finishing up my Associates in Social Media Marketing. Right know I work as a Behavior Technician. I have helped a small business for there marketing. I helped with their social media and the making of the website.

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