Salsa and merengue dancing tonight will kick off MSUs sixth annual Puerto Rican Culture Week celebration.
The weeklong event is organized by the Puerto Rican Student Association each year around Nov. 19, the anniversary of Christopher Columbus arrival in Puerto Rico in 1493.
PRSA President Janet Retto said the week provides the university with awareness about Puerto Rican culture and issues.
We want to promote our culture and promote the culture of Chicanos and Latinos in general, the pre-vet sophomore said. It helps to make our presence known.
Retto will teach basic salsa and merengue steps along with a short choreography after tonights Culturas de las Razas Unidas meeting in Wilson Halls CRU room. A movie night featuring I Like It Like That, the story of a young Puerto Rican family living in New York City, will take place Wednesday night.
George El Renacido Torres, a Puerto Rican poet and activist, will address the issue of U.S. Navy bombing practices happening on the island of Vieques, just off the coast of Puerto Rico. Retto said many Puerto Ricans protest military involvement in Vieques because of the number of civilians that live on the island.
She also said Torres hopes to raise consciousness about the issue at MSU.
He may not necessarily take a stance on the issue, but he wants to make the problem known here, Retto said.
Students can experience a taste of Puerto Rico during Fridays lechonada, a traditional pig roast that will feature other cultural foods such as surullos and empanadillas. A dance featuring New York DJ Adrian Lopez will complete the weeks festivities at the Kellogg Center on Saturday.
Claudio Juarez, vice president of PRSA, said its important to celebrate the week in order to encourage understanding of other cultures.
We need to educate others on our culture and let them know that there are many things that make up the Latino culture, he said.
Juarez also said all members of the MSU community should attend this weeks cultural celebration.
Everybody should come out to support and show that the minority community can work in conjunction with each other.