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Procession Marks Beginnings of Mexican Revolution

Greg Kuhnen -- The Tech
A candlelight vigil and procession on Monday night commemorated Mexican Independence.

By Dali Jimnez
Staff Reporter

On Sept. 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo initiated the revolution for the independence of Mexico from Spain. Ringing bells to remember that day and the freedom which was won, people now celebrate Sept. 16 throughout Mexico.

Marking the first time the Mexican Independence was celebrated at MIT, La Unin Chicana por Aztln members gathered at Lobby 7 on Monday and began a candlelit procession toward MacGregor House. The procession began with about seven members but eventually grew to about 20 as the group made their way past the dormitories.

Members of the procession spoke of this day as a remembrance of their independence and of the goals left to accomplish.

"Mexico is not being occupied right now but we're still struggling. The revolution's not over yet," said Miguel Chacon '00, Lucha member and organizer of the procession.

Ivan Aguayo '00, who was carrying the Mexican flag during the procession said, "There's a struggle that still persists today, for higher education, improved opportunity in the workforce, and rights for all immigrants."

"I don't think we'll ever be through," Chacon said.

The procession produced many curious stares from observers. Many wondered what was going on and the students involved in the procession were only happy to tell them, followed by an offer, "Want to be honorary Mexican for the day?"

A misunderstanding of the meaning of the candles drew one onlooker to wish the crowd "happy birthday". But this served the purpose perfectly, since the point of the candles was "to get attention," Aguayo said.

Chacon was initially disappointed in the turnout. "I expected more, but it's a weekday, and I understand the demands of the MIT academic schedule," he said.

Although the gathering started small, it soon grew. The students broke into song and made their way back to Lobby 7.

Once there, with the candles on the floor and holding hands, they spoke of unity and the importance of remembering their roots. Each member had something to say, many in the form of thanks, pride, or advice.

As everyone was thanked for their support, the camaraderie was thick in the air.

Both Nitza M. Basoco '98 and Xochitl V. Cruz-Gonzalez '99 said they were grateful for being dragged out of their rooms.

Miriam L. Aguirre '99 was especially glad for the event since it provided her with a "reality check of the whole world around MIT," she said.

By the end of the night, Chacon was "really proud to be part of the group" and stressed "keeping in mind the tradition of your ancestors, and why you're here," he said.