About 500 people celebrated and honored Mexican Independence Day at Cal State San Bernardino with evening-long festivities that included cultural performances of music and dance, activities for children and featured the Mexican Consul with the ringing of a bell and cry for patriotism or “El Grito.”
The celebration was held in the patio of the university’s Meeting Center (formerly known as the Commons).
“I am pleased that we are celebrating here the anniversary of the independence of Mexico. Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!” said CSUSB President Tomás Morales in addressing the attendees. “It is my pleasure to have you here on our campus to this very special celebration.”

CSUSB Professor Enrique Murillo, the recipient of the university’s Outstanding Community Engagement Award.

From left: Diane Podolske, director of CSUSB’s Community Engagement; CSUSB President Tomas D. Morales; Outstanding Community Engagement Award recipient Enrique Murillo Jr., professor of education and founder of LEAD; and Robert Nava, vice president of University Advancement.  

Morales acknowledged the groups that worked together to make the event possible. “I want to take a moment to thank the Mexican Consulate of San Bernardino, the university’s Latino Education and Advocacy Days (LEAD), and our incredible Associated Students Incorporated, our student government, for partnering to make this event possible,” Morales said. “I also want to thank the many CSUSB offices, local businesses, school districts, faith-based partners, elected officials and performers who contributed to this effort.”
The event also had a surprise announcement as Morales announced that CSUSB Professor Enrique Murillo, the director and founder of LEAD and the chief organizer of the celebration, was the recipient of the university’s Outstanding Community Engagement Award.  
“Dr. Murillo is being honored for his deeply engaged academic work, a history of community collaboration and change especially in addressing the educational equity in the specific needs of Latino education and his leadership in raising the profile of CSUSB as an institution committed to diversity, inclusion and student success,” Morales said. “His efforts have impacted thousands of lives and inspired countless more. I just want to say personally that I have not met anyone more dedicated in my 47 years in higher education, more dedicated to the Latino community.”
The celebration climaxed with Carlos Garcia de Alba, the Mexican Consul in San Bernardino, ringing a ceremonial bell and giving “El Grito” with the names of the important heroes of the Mexican War of Independence and ending with the threefold shout of ¡Viva México!
The event commemorates the actions in 1810 of parish priest Father Miguel Hidalgo who in the Mexican village of Dolores, rang his church bell and yelled his cry for freedom from Spanish tyranny in what launched the war for Mexican Independence.
To commemorate Hidalgo’s historic “Cry of Dolores,” on the evening of Sept. 15, the day before Mexican Independence Day, the president of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City. The ringing of the bell and “El Grito” is reenacted throughout Mexico and all over the world.
The Mexican Independence Day observance was one of the featured evening events of Move-In Day, the official launch of Welcome Week 2019 for students who will make CSUSB’s residence halls and apartments their home for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.
The celebration also kicked off CSUSB’s month-long (Sept. 15–Oct. 15) observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, honoring the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The university will hold events throughout the month honoring the contributions of CSUSB Hispanic students, alumni, faculty and staff as well as discussions of current events and issues affecting the Hispanic community.

CSUSB Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.