Fruitvale neighborhood hosts Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day celebration
on May 11, 2016
On May 7, people gathered in Oakland’s Fruitvale district to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory, despite the odds, against the French at the Battle in Puebla in 1862.
The event, hosted by Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo (District 5) and the City of Oakland, began with a Mother’s Day mural dedication at 3204 International Boulevard and Aztec dancing at the Fruitvale Village main stage, before roughly 1,000 people made their way to three different musical stages. Acts such as Mariachi Dinastia Torres, Grupo Certeza and the Skyline Breakdancing Club had crowds dancing throughout the day.
“There were three stages at different locations,” said Victoria Herrera, special assistant to Gallo. “35th Avenue had Oakland-based hip-hop group Los Rakas, foosball, and radio giveaways from 93.3. East 12th—closer to 33rd Avenue—had free children’s activities and Mother’s Day card-making, while the main stage at Fruitvale Village had a seating area for people to relax while listening to live music. The whole event just had a variety of free resources for kids and families to enjoy.”
Herrera said the day was also a three-pronged celebration: Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and the last day of “small business week,” with many attendees stressing the importance of supporting local mom-and-pop businesses.
Gallo also wanted to stress the importance of cherishing mothers and grandmothers throughout the year because, he said, they are “the centerpiece of our Latino Mexican families.”
“We cannot forget that. We need to grow that and really value, love, support and enjoy our mothers and grandmothers to the very end. It was Cinco de Mayo, but at the same time, the greater celebration for all of us as families was Mother’s Day,” said Gallo.
Clara Garzón, council aid to Gallo, called the occasion “a day to celebrate culture.”
“It’s not the Independence Day,” she said. “It’s a day to remember the Battle of Puebla where the Mexican troops defeated the French despite how much they had stacked against them.”
Last year the event attracted about 3,000 people—thanks to the day getting plenty of sunshine – but this year, Herrera said, the rain didn’t stop attendees from having a great time. It even inspired an epiphany for her: “At first I was upset and thinking, ‘Why did it have to rain?’” she recalled. But then, she said, she realized that, “Of course, Mother Nature had to join in, too, so I couldn’t stay too mad at that.”
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