By Pamela Tapia
Askari York swayed to the beat of African drums. At the emotional intelligence workshop, Taylor Murray learned that the love you receive as a baby can affect your entire life. ‘It gave me new ways to help my friends,” said Murray.
Focusing mostly on activism, immigration, leadership and hip hop, twenty students from McClymonds joined several hundred students from around the Bay Area to participate in the tenth annual Ethnic Studies Conference on the UC Berkeley campus Wednesday.
The conference included workshops on the history of walk outs, the Aztec calendar, mass exodus of black people from the bay to suburbs, and creation of social groups like the Black Panthers and Brown Berets.
It opened with a bang. To the beat of drums, UC Berkeley students, wearing authentic traditional Aztec ritual costumes, with colorful feathered headdresses bells around their ankles, performed traditional Aztec dances.
Asian students played synchronized instruments like the gong and drums. The ceremony concluded with Northern African drumming., during which York was invited on-stage by one of the African performer to beat the drums and to dance a few steps of traditional African dancing.
“That’s my people,” said York after returning to his seat exhausted.
Following a workshop on the brief history and organization of major walkouts in East Los Angeles during the 60s, a class of UC Berkeley students walked out of their classrooms and poured into the streets with signs, shouting chants and making demands for “education for all.”