An inspirational alum, colorful Mexican crafts, and tasty treats were highlights of a pair of events at Fullerton College on Thursday celebrating Hispanic heritage and educational achievement. Diversity in Latin and Hispanic cultures in the Americas was a focus at the events, which brought reflection and pride to members of the college community.

First up for the day was guest speaker Jose Lozano, an acclaimed artist and FC alum, whose talk marked the official beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month at the college.

Artist Jose Lozano speaks with student Maritza Garcia about a piece of his work after giving his presentation at Fullerton College on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.

Artist Jose Lozano speaks with student Maritza Garcia about a piece of his work after giving his presentation at Fullerton College on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. Photo credit: Jasmyn Ramirez

“What more could an artist ask for?” Lozano said, reflecting on the power of art as he commented on a piece demonstrating that not all those of Latin and Hispanic descent have similar appearance. “To have an effect on somebody for a couple of seconds and then in their brain, in their heart, say ‘Hmm that’s an interesting notion.’ And then it kind of wants to make you do something about it. And you say- Oh hell no. We’re not all the same.”

Lozano was born in Los Angeles in 1959 and shortly after moved with his family to Juarez, Mexico, where he spent a portion of his childhood. His roots in Fullerton run deep. He attended both Fullerton Junior College, where he received his AA degree, and Cal State Fullerton, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. Lozano’s work has been shown widely in a variety of spaces throughout Southern California, and he prefers to leave his work up to the interpretation of others so they can find “their own take on what it means.”

Jose Lozano&squot;s book "Little Chanclas" sits on a few of his art pieces in the College Center on Thursday.

Jose Lozano’s book “Little Chanclas” sits on a few of his art pieces in the College Center on Thursday. Photo credit: Jasmyn Ramirez

“You never know who you have in your backyard, and what our students can become,” said Citlally Santana, a counselor at the college. Santana is on the executive board for the district’s Latino Faculty and Staff Association and helped organize Lozano’s talk. “I just hope he is an inspiration to them like he’s been to me.”

Maritza Garcia was one student who found inspiration, “I’m actually someone who creates Chicano art, so having someone who was able to share their story and how they got their artwork out there inspires me that I could do the same one day.”

After Lozano’s presentation, the Cadena Cultural Center hosted an event in the quad recognizing Fullerton College’s role as a Hispanic Serving Institution, as part of a national HSI week. Attendees were greeted by a variety of booths, including those giving out paletas, a frozen Mexican treat, and pastries from Cuban bakery Porto’s.

A member of the Latino Faculty and Staff Association gives students information about the Cadena Cultural Center in the quad on Thursday.

A member of the Latino Faculty and Staff Association gives students information about the Cadena Cultural Center in the quad on Thursday. Photo credit: Sara Leon

During the celebration, students made and showed off their heritage with their very own papel picado, which is a Mexican craft made by creating elaborate designs from colorful pieces of tissue paper. “Basically we wanted to do an activity where students could make their own papel picado flower and can write on the stem ‘Oh I’m proud to be Mexican, Honduran,’ whatever Hispanic ethnicity they are,” said Janet, who was running the booth.

Yoselin Ferrera, another student at FC, shared why Hispanic Heritage Month is important to her, “you have this whole month to celebrate and give pride to where you come from and give admiration to the people who have it for us to be heard, to be seen.”

More events in store to celebrate the month include The Puente + Legacy Center Ribbon Cutting at Cypress College on Sept. 22, a student panel on “Shedding Light on the Effects of the Pandemic on Latinidad,” to be presented on Zoom on Sept. 27, and a field trip to the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture Museum Tour on Oct. 4.

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Jasmyn Ramirez