Cinco de Mayo Revealed in Ventura and Kern Counties
Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is actually an American holiday? While many people mistakenly think the holiday observes Mexico’s Day of Independence, Cinco de Mayo is in fact a commemoration of a significant event in Mexican history – El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla) – where a poorly equipped Mexican army defeated superior French forces in the city of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Cinco de Mayo was first created by Latinos in California during the American Civil War and has since evolved into a celebration that is both uniquely Mexican and American. This annual celebration on the 5th of May recognizes and embodies California’s rich Latino heritage.
This year, California Resources Corporation (CRC) sponsored the second annual “Cinco de Mayo Revealed” celebrations in both Ventura and Kern Counties. Hosted by distinguished UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) professor Dr. David Hayes-Bautista in both Spanish and English, these free and public celebrations provided a lively, fun and unique experience where local residents were able to learn about the origin of Cinco de Mayo while enjoying Mexican food and culture. A special highlight of the program was a theatrical performance featuring traditional music and dancers, accompanied by a narration by Dr. Hayes-Bautista promoting the message of hope, healing and unity that the observance represents. Dr. Hayes-Bautista is currently the Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Todd Stevens, CRC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Cinco de Mayo reflects a shared cultural heritage among Americans who support the values of freedom, equality and democracy – values for which CRC also stands. Its history as a rich American tradition re-connects us with our past in a meaningful way and with a message that honors the Latino culture throughout California. Thanks to this special presentation, CRC was pleased to help spark increased awareness and a better understanding of the many contributions Latino communities have made not only to our state, but also to our thriving oil and natural gas industry.”
For the celebration in Ventura County, CRC partnered with the Ventura Citizens for Energy Independence and the League of United Latin American Citizens’ (LULAC) Ventura County Higher Education Council to host the celebratory event. With nearly 250 people at the Palazzio Event Center in Santa Paula, California on April 4th, the event also provided an opportunity for Ventura residents to meet local representatives and community supporters, including Santa Paula Mayor Clint Garman, City of Fillmore Councilmember Manual Minjares, Field Representative of the Office of Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long, and LULAC District 17 Director Rick Castaniero.
CRC partnered with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Telemundo, East Bakersfield High School, and LULAC’s Kern County Foundation to host the second event in Bakersfield, California in Kern County. With upwards of 125 attendees, the event received support from elected officials, including 21st Congressional District Congressman TJ Cox, 16th State District Senator Shannon Grove, 34th District Assemblymember Vince Fong, 32nd District Assemblymember Rudy Salas, as well as the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
Revealing the origins of Cinco de Mayo provided a wealth of historical perspective to all attendees, while also celebrating the many vital contributions of Latinos to California’s economy and sustainable energy future. Considering that nearly one-third of the oil and natural gas workforce is Latino, these workers are at the heart of ensuring that California can rely on a diverse, local energy supply that is critical to sustaining a vibrant, inclusive community.
Watch our recap videos in English and Spanish below.