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UCI Cross-Cultural Holds Virtual Community Roots Festival

UCI’s Cross-Cultural Center held a virtual Community Roots Festival that featured student organization performances consisting of dance, spoken word, music and a social media photo contest on Nov. 16 to Nov. 20. 

The festival, which was originally known as the Rainbow Festival, was first established in 1984 and acts as an annual platform to showcase various talent and cultures present in the UCI community. The festival acts as a platform that showcases the different student cultural organizations that students can be a part of. This year’s event was facilitated by Cross-Cultural Center Community Programmer Stephanie Iraheta and Cross-Cultural Center Associate Director Daniel K. Park. 

The event opened with Daniel Cano reciting his poem “Tunnel Vision,” which he chose “because it focuses on confronting our shadows.” 

“When we build a healthy relationship with [our shadows], we can continue to shine on,” Cano said. 

Cano is a hip hop artist, poet and educator with over half a million streams on Spotify. The festival also included the track “Weight on Me,” which is from his recently released album. 

One group that performed was Hansori, a Korean Cultural Awareness organization at UCI. The group performed a song called “Buknori” with traditional Korean instruments. The group preserves transitional Korean culture by participating in a traditional style of drumming known as Poongmul. Some of the instruments that were used include the kkwaenggwari, jing, janggu and buk. The club was originally created in 2002 when four students were inspired by a performance they witnessed at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. 

Ballet Folklorico de UCI was another student organization that performed. According to the Cross-Cultural Center website, the goal of the group “is to create a safe space for individuals of all racial and geographic backgrounds to feel comfortable with freely expressing who they are, whether it be through dance and music or other creative means.”

The Vermillion Vocalists, a UCI acapella group, performed as well. The video included in the festival was from their award-winning ICCA set during West Quarterfinal #4 at the Downey Theatre on Feb. 9. The songs included were “Trampoline” by SHAED, “Blue Ocean Floor” by Justin Timberlake and “Fall in Line” by Christina Aguilera ft. Demi Lovato. 

Another vocal performance was given by Andaaz A Cappella, a South Asian acapella group originally founded in 2008. The group performed their arrangement of “Bekhayali,” a Bollywood song from the movie “Kabir Singh. 

In addition to the performances, several UCI organizations shared information about the resources they provide. These organizations included the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, Womxn’s Hub, UCI Counseling Center, UCI CARE, UCI SOAR Center, UCI Disability Services Center, UCI Center for Black Cultures, Resources, & Research, UCI Latinx Resource Center and UCI Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion. 

Thirteen campus student organizations participated in a social media photograph challenge, which called for the groups to submit a photo and a short essay responding to how each organization plans to dismantle anti-Blackness which started on Nov. 16 and ended Nov. 20. 

The Indian Subcontinent Club took home first place prize for the social media contest, with the SE Asian Student Association in second place and Ballet Folcklórico in third place.

Magaly Bravo is a Campus News Intern for the Fall 2020-2021 Quarter. She can be reached at