By Michael Rodriguez
Sprinkled glittery stars and dimly lit candles coated the bright silver table cloths and lights were strung around each pillar. This set the ambiance in the Decker Social Space for Gala de la Raza on Friday, Oct. 13.
Union Latina, one of the College’s multicultural organizations, hosted the event to celebrate multicultural diversity with the theme of “Bajo Las Misma’s Estrellas” or “Under The Same Stars,” according to the LionsGate.
Students eagerly dressed to impress, a night filled with cultural performances, dancing and delicious food.
Ana Sofia, an English and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major and president of Union Latina, believes the event created a “unity of people.”
“People of different backgrounds can come together,” Sofia said. “It’s a place where they can feel safe to express themselves.”
The event allowed students to interact with different cultures that they may not have been exposed to otherwise. All while enjoying a range of lively music.
The gala opened with performances from three of the College’s multicultural organizations — Barkada, Synergy and Ritmo Latino.
Barcada gave a high octane performance of Filipino music, while Synergy blended pop-culture dance music.
Ritmo Latino took advantage of its Hispanic background to put on a couple’s dance, switching from slow dance songs to more fast-paced sequences.
The various music had students dancing and enjoying themselves amongst friends until the night concluded.
Evan Saso, a senior finance major, took a break from dancing to praise the “cool environment” the gala created.
Saso attended the gala with a group of his friends, but mostly wanted to meet other students from different backgrounds.
“The gala gives off a sense of unity. Here, I feel like I am able to meet more people like me,” Saso said.
Students later rushed in line for the gala’s buffet style dinner, offering a taste of empanadas, white and brown rice, and much more delicious food.
Kathleen Zarro, a senior communications major, attended the gala in previous years with her friends and was always satisfied with her experience.
“This gala really opens my eyes. It raises awareness of diversity on our campus and the larger portion of the world,” Zarro said.
The event created an atmosphere of safety for all students to relax and get to know people that they may have not met before.
The cultural differences within the College’s community are often not acknowledged by the everyday student, but events like Gala de la Raza expose students to the different cultures that exist in our society today.
“Events like this are important,” Sofia said. “Cultural awareness is now higher than ever, but we need to keep talking and celebrating our differences.”