Illustration by Louise Leong

Each year, UC Santa Cruz students host events that highlight campus diversity. The 33rd annual Multicultural Festival (MCF) is one such event, aiming to promote intercultural solidarity at UCSC.

This year’s festival is themed “Embracing the Beauty of Difference through Culture,” and will recognize students of underrepresented communities on campus by celebrating their presence.

The event will feature food booths offering dishes from a variety of cultures, a TaeKwonDo presentation from UCSC TaeKwonDo and performances from campus dance groups Sabrosura, Haluan, Los Mejicas, Bhangra, among others. Hip hop and jazz fusion band Balance and the Traveling Sounds will also be performing live.

The MCF is organized by student organizations like the Indian Student Organization and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o Aztlán (MEChA), among others. Students from MEChA said the festival helps build solidarity among student organizations on campus.

Robert Bisquera Jr., a third-year sociology and Latin American and Latino studies major, is one of the student organizers for the MCF. Bisquera said he has participated in organizing the event each year and that it is an important occasion, especially for students of color.

“It’s very important for students of color to be able to share their culture,” Bisquera said. “I think the university — and especially UCSC — tries to have this image of diversity, and students of color are still very underrepresented on this campus.”

Ivan Medina, a third-year literature and art major and member of MEChA, said it is important for students of color to be visible on campus, an effort he said students can organize around and discuss at MCF.

“It’s about the idea that you have the ability to communicate with other groups of people that may not necessarily be a part of your specific community, but have the potential to be part of your student body community,” Medina said.

MCF organizers are expecting over 750 attendees and hope students, staff, faculty and community members will join them in raising multicultural awareness on campus as well as in the Santa Cruz community.

“This event gives students of color a place to share their culture,” MCF organizer Bisquera said. “It breaks barriers within the communities on this campus and unites them through sharing the importance of embracing the diversity on this campus.”

The event will be held May 19 from 12 to 4 p.m. on the lower lawn at Oakes College.