Brown Pride

Cultures de Raza Unidas (CRU) is a Latino Student Organization dedicated to not only

celebrating diversity and heritage but acting as a “cohesive voice of the Latino community.“ On

October 16th, 2013- with some assistance of the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions

(OCAT)- they provided a display of brown pride to the Michigan State University community

with a twist.

That twist came in the form of Los Angeles-based theatre group Will & Company,

who tour the nation with 65 minute live presentations, a “series of two person shows depicting

historical Americans who have made an impact on our society (http://

http://www.willandcompany.com/latino/) but wouldn’t get the recognition they otherwise deserve.

The series- which consists of several shows focused on several minority groups- is aptly named:

Brown Pride 3

Portraits of Courage.

The pre show included a dancing competition to many different styles of Latin-based

music; it got the crowd involved and relaxed, but it wasn’t long until the main event proceeded to

captivate the audience.

Colin Cox, native of England and founder of the theatre group, travelled to Michigan

State with performers Nick Ortega and Jessica Meza. He gleefully stated the shows are

“designed to present people every American should know about” and provided information on

who would be brought to life on stage, including civil rights attorney Gustavo Garcia, the 1st

Mexican to argue before the Supreme Court who also helped end the exclusion of Hispanics

from jury service in Jackson County, Texas. Another was Andrea Perez, who first led to the

abolishment of the miscegenation laws in the United States when she sued for her right to marry

an African American, a case which eventually led to the Supreme Court striking down all such

laws. (http://www.willandcompany.com/latino/) Other historical figures brought to life included

Luisa Moreno, Roberto Clemente, and Sylvia Rivera.

I unfortunately could not stay for all of the show; however not one performance I

witnessed went without applause, only to end in a captivating silence as the performers moved

on to the next moment in history.

Brown Pride at Michigan State is nothing new. In fact, it is the 10th of its kind. Dominga

Martinez, Brown Pride founder, once stated the purpose is to provide opportunity for Chicano/

Latinos to be recognized (http://www.msu-cru.com/brown-pride). This opportunity is paramount,

considering the Chicano/Latino population has consistently represented less than 5% of

Michigan State’s total student populace (http://www.inclusion.msu.edu/Outreach/

Diversity_Report.pdf). Therefore the purpose of the annual and unified showing of Brown Pride

goes beyond simple appreciation; it’s about stressing the importance of grabbing the opportunity

provided by those before, collegiate and otherwise. Brown Pride is meant for all but to those who

wear it, it’s about the necessity of the courage to succeed. For those in attendance for 2013, this

was made more clear than ever.

Brown Pride 1

–Kristopher Taylor-Johnson

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