Students danced to Latin American music at the 30th anniversary celebration for TWANAS on April 21 at Oakes. Photo Courtesy of Evelyn Lara.

Students danced to Latin American music at the 30th anniversary celebration for TWANAS on April 21 at Oakes. Photo Courtesy of Evelyn Lara.

Students crammed into the Oakes Learning Center last Thursday to dance, eat fresh Mexican food, watch a film about resistance, and discuss the importance of having a Third World voice in UC Santa Cruz’s student media.

The event was held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Third World and Native American Students Press Collective (TWANAS).

Key coordinator Pedro Espinosa said the press collective considered not publishing this quarter.

“It was a matter of getting people to join the staff,” said Espinosa, a fourth-year community studies major and Latin American and Latino studies (LALS) minor. “Money was not a problem.”

Third-year Zassmin Montes de Oca, a community studies major, is one of Espinosa’s recruits. She decided to join to gain experience in writing.

“I wanted to write about topics that matter to me,” Montes de Oca said. “I also wanted to try something new. I have never written for a paper before. It’s cool to know that other people are going to pick it up and read it.”

TWANAS content consists of artwork, essays and photography involving issues that affect students of color.

Montes de Oca heard about TWANAS when Espinosa made an announcement at a Students Informing Now (SIN) meeting about a month ago. SIN is an on-campus organization that advocates for immigrant rights. 

“He asked everybody at the meeting to come out,” Montes de Oca said.  

TWANAS was not only successful in recruiting staff members, but also in getting people to attend the party held for the publication’s 30th birthday. 

“Considering how many showed up for the celebration, it makes the work that we do for the issue worthwhile,” Espinosa said. “This is what UCSC needs to see and we will continue the work.”

Because of the high turnout, Espinosa is not worried about getting people to sign up next year, he said.

“[The high turnout] means there is a possibility that more students will join the staff, that there is an audience out there that reads TWANAS, and that there are students who are willing to do something.” 

After the audience watched the dance group Sabrosura perform, students chowed down on food from Taqueria Santa Cruz and danced to San Jose-based band La Colectiva. The band played a style called Son Jarocho, traditional music from the Mexican state of Veracruz, until 11 p.m. 

“The students don’t usually get the opportunity to dance to this type of music at UCSC, so they loved it,” Espinosa said. “They kept playing a good 30 minutes after the event ended because of the students’ reaction.”

Before the dancing took place, students engaged in an open dialogue on how a voice for students of color is vital to the local media. 

Second-year Natalie Ramirez, a LALS major, referenced Cohn Hallinan, the founder of the now-defunct UCSC journalism minor. Hallinan was a guest speaker in Ramirez’s journalism workshop earlier that week. Ramirez said that Hallinan’s words “A revolution will not and has never happened without the press” stood out to her.

“None of our mediums are being used too effectively,” Ramirez said about press collectives outside TWANAS. “We need to collaborate with the media so it can really take effect on this campus.”