I walked in Columbia College Chicago multipurpose studio , the first thing I smelled was delicious food. I knew it was Spanish food and I recognized this aroma . It was Colombian food laid out across the table. It was almost like thanksgiving came early. There were platanos , empanadas . chicharron and yuca .
Jesus Macarena-Avila immediately greeted me and welcomed me to the event. I was looking forward to this event since I first seen the poster hanging in my dorm. I saw ” Exploring Afro-mestizo” and it caught my eye and knew I was so anxious to learn more about the Afro-Latin culture .
Macarena -Avila is my previous professor that taught Latin American Art , Music and Literature. This was the first class the opened my eyes about the Latin culture and took me on a deep journey around Latin America and its heritage and customs.
I took this class my freshman year and around that time I didn’t know much about the ” Afro-Latin community”. But now that I do it is important to keep it alive and attend any event that celebrates the Afro-Latin culture.
When I glanced to the other side of the room I seen the guest speaker for the event, Julio Cesar Montano Montenegro. As interesting as his name is , his presence definitely makes a mark. He was wearing a brightly colored hat and had on all white . I can recognize an Afro-Latino when I see one. He was so friendly , outgoing and welcoming. I knew this event was worth coming to .
It provided me with essential information about the African Influence in Colombia. He explored Afro-Mestizo music and traditions, it was truly informal , educational and inspiring. All the instruments were lined up and I couldn’t wait to hear the sounds and the music ringing in my ear.
It isn’t everyday I get to attend events like this one. The Afro-Latino culture is not something I learned in high school . I learned from family stories , books , YouTube videos , essays , history and blogs. I had to teach myself the history and understand it from different standpoint and perceptions.
This event was life changing and extremely essential to what #IAMENOUGH blog wants to implement . We should support our community by attending events that celebrate our culture .
I captured as many moments and images as I can to make you guys feel like you were actually there along with me.