Hundreds joined together Tuesday night at the Liberty Bell in front of Kern County Superior Court to celebrate the annual “El Grito,” a major celebration in Mexico that marks the country’s fight for independence against Spanish rule.
The evening included folkloric dancers, mariachi and banda music groups, and a scholarship recognition ceremony — including a representative from sponsor Chain | Cohn | Stiles — honoring six Kern County students and scholarship recipients.
The celebration also included a live feed from the Mexican city of Dolores where President Enrique Peña Nieto led a reenactment of El Grito. Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16. The Grito, which occurred in the small Mexican town of Dolores, was the rallying call made by a Roman Catholic priest in front of his church to the battle against Spain.
The was the fifth year of El Grito celebration in Bakersfield, organized by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, which includes foundation board member and Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director Jorge Barrientos. The event also kicked off Mexican American Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
The Bakersfield personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles sponsored student scholarships presented during El Grito celebration along with Advanced Center for Eyecare and Law Offices of Xochitl M. Garcia, who handles family law.
The sponsors, in partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, awarded six $250 scholarships to local students in pursuit of higher education, and who are giving back in various ways to our community.
Here are the student scholarship recipients:
- Alexandria Crisler: Foothill High School graduate and freshman at UC Davis, studying applied chemistry, forensics. On campus, she was the president of the math club, French club and mock trial, and volunteered at Mercy Hospital, Kern Ambulance Explorers, and tutored various underpriveleged students.
- Paloma Esparza: Ridgeview High School graduate attending Bakersfield College, studying nursing. On campus, she helps mentor incoming nursing students. She also participated in Latina Leaders of Kern County and volunteered for various causes, including dispersing Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in Arvin.
- Madison Ridley: Bakersfield High School student, who will study chemical engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. On campus, she takes part in STEM courses, Safe School Ambassadors, Link Crew and much more. Her charity, Maddie’s Messages, donates blankets to adults and children who are suffering from cancer and other illnesses.
- Isaac Solis: Foothill High School graduate and Cal State Bakersfield criminal justice major. On campus he is part of the Spanish Club, mock trial and computer design. Outside of campus, he assists with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post 519, and The Way community outreach program.
- Joanna Valdez: Foothill High School graduate and Bakersfield College student, studying political science. On campus, she takes part in mock trial. In the community, she is part of migrant programs.
- Ana Zamudio: A Foothill High School graduate, and Bakersfield College student. She is an artist who has been involved in mock trial at school, and as a student mentor.
- Bakersfield celebrates “El Grito” (Bakersfield Now)