By Gladys B. Vargas

The Mexican Consulate hosted a celebration Friday evening in recognition of the 213 anniversary of the Mexican Independence Day, offering birria, live music, and photo opportunities to Oxnard community leaders before ending the night with the traditional Grito de Dolores reenactment at Oxnard Plaza Park and hosted by Radio LAZER.

Before the reenactment and following festivities of song, dance, and food took place at Plaza Park at 8 p.m., Ambassador Ricardo Santana Velázquez hosted guests at the Mexican Consulate on West Fifth Street in Oxnard.

In his remarks, the ambassador and his audience cheered for Mexico, for Oxnard, with proud, “open chests.” Velázquez explained the Consulate would be spending the Independence Day weekend visiting Santa María, Guadalupe, and Santa Paula to honor the occasion, and he extended thanks to city council members, and members of the Zacatecas and Jalisco, Mexico federation who had come dressed in charro. Velázquez also thanked the children who had performed at the Consulate earlier in the evening, and urged them to continue carrying the traditions of Mexico.

The ambassador said the children’s progress and skills are what “make our community count, that make our traditions continue to live, that make the values, morals and love for Mexico continue to be learned in our hearts.”

Velázquez also encouraged his guests to enjoy themselves, since it was Friday, “and there’s tequila,” he said. But in all seriousness, “I believe that this is an important moment,” Velázquez said as he introduced indigenous, Afro-Mexican poet Jesus Noyola. “Because among all the rich things that Mexican culture has is, of course, its native people,” Velázquez said.

Jesus Noyola volunteers at Radio Indígena in Oxnard, running poetry-focused programming over the air on Friday evenings. This past Friday evening, he instead recited poetry in-person, to the guests of the Mexican Consulate.

“We are people, and mountains. We are valleys, rivers and seas…we are immigrants who get on a train to go to work in restaurants, to work in gardening,” Noyola said. “The women who get up very early to go to work here in the strawberry fields, leaving their children. We are those Mexicans…who never mess around.”

With the big fiesta to celebrate the Independence of Mexico, which continued until Sunday, September 17 in the Plaza de Oxnard, Ventura County celebrated one more year of the glorious independence from the Spanish yoke that lasted on the shoulders of the Mexicans for more than 300 years.