Latinx and Indigenous People’s Festival Celebrates Culture


Ashley Dong

The Latinx / Indigenous People’s Festival took place Nov. 9 at Miramonte. This event, planned by Leadership, offered free admission to all AUHSD students and families. The festival featured two performances: one by a group of indigenous singers and dancers and one by an “edutainment company”—as described on their website—called School Yard Rap.

“To me, this was an opportunity to share our culture and let the wider society know that we’re still here. We’re still thriving, and our culture is still being practiced,” performer Michael Andrews said. 

Before officially starting the event in the Wellness Center, the Leadership team gave a land acknowledgment, recognizing that the event took place on the land of the Bay Miwok, Ohlone, and Saclan tribes. Then, they invited up a group of Native American performers.

Andrews led the group, singing and beating his handheld drum to keep an energetic rhythm. Andrews’ son, 9-year-old Wesley, danced first, wearing bells, which jingled when he moved, to ward off negativity and held hoops representing the circle of life. The second dancer, Anthony Goodman, danced a northern traditional style of dance called the “Sneak-Up Dance.” Afterward, Goodman thanked Leadership for the land acknowledgment, then described the seventh-generation principle. This principle urges everyone to be grateful for what the previous three generations accomplished in shaping the world into what it is today, to enjoy the current generation, and to think about how to take care of the world so it is good for the next three generations.

After the performance, attendees explored the Wellness Center and visited 15 booths set up by various parents, students, teachers, and other guests. Different countries, languages, and clubs were represented. “It’s really amazing to spread recognition and also representation around a school that isn’t exactly very diverse. To spread awareness to many other people is all I can hope for,” senior Dorian Byrd said, representing the Black Student Union.

Around 6:30 p.m., the theater opened for a performance by School Yard Rap. This duo of two performers was led by Brandon “Griot B” Brown. “I don’t think you know what’s about to happen here,” Griot B said, before the performance even began. Griot B explained how he doesn’t consider himself a rapper, but a griot, which is a traditional west African storyteller. He has a Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and a Master’s in Education, and he left his job as a public school teacher to start this company. They performed six original songs, each with a meaningful message: for example, the song “Nada” described how the U.S. depends on immigrant contributions, and the song “Cinco de Mayo” spoke about how most people aren’t racist, just ignorant, and need to be educated.

“I think it was really special that we could put this on. I, myself, am not part of the Latino community, but I think it’s really important that we are able to celebrate different cultures and communities at our school. I thought this was a really amazing event, and I’m so glad that I could help and be part of it,” senior and Leadership student Gemma Leach said.