Justicia: Video Project

We weren’t planning on doing another video project this semester, but the killing of George Floyd and the global movement it triggered inspired us to dance once more.

This time the backdrop is the boarded up store fronts of San Jose, put up to help prevent property damage and looting amidst the daily protests and heightened emotions, and the song is “Justicia” (Spanish for “Justice”)

Salsa at its heart is a political art form. Born in New York in the 1960s, many early salsa artists such as Rubén Blades, Willie Colón, and Eddie Palmieri wrote songs that were infused with social issues such as poverty, prejudice, and injustice.

“Justicia”, released in 1969 (the year after the assassination of Martin Luther King) is a song by Eddie Palmieri that speaks to the injustices faced by Puerto Rican immigrants and Black people in America, which is unfortunately as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.

But salsa also represents Unity. It is a mixture of different cultures and music originating in Cuba, where the rhythms of the African slaves fused with the vocals and instruments of the Spanish conquerers, as well as influences of the native Taino people of the Caribbean, to give birth to a new form of music, that has spread around the globe.

Salsa today is the most popular form of social dancing in the world, danced in almost every major city in every country. Though the pandemic has temporarily shuttered most dancehalls, the fact that salsa music and dance has the power to bring together people of all races, creeds and colors, gives us Hope.

In these challenging times, we would like to share our interpretation of this classic salsa piece and help spread a message of Hope, Unity and JUSTICE.


Justicia tendrán / Justice they will have
Justicia te dan / Justice they give you
El mundo / The world
Y los discriminados / And the discriminated

Con el canto de mi tambo / With the song of my drum
Oye mi tambo / Hear my drum
La justicia yo reclamo / I demand Justice

(Ay cuando llegará la justicia / Oh when will justice come)
Justicia para los boricuas y los niches / Justice for the Puerto Ricans & Blacks

(Ay cuando llegará la justicia / Oh when will justice come)
Mi tambor reclama justicia / My drum demands Justice

(Ay cuando llegará la justicia / Oh when will justice come)
Que llegue, que llegue la buena noticia / Let the good news come, let it come

(Ay cuando llegará la justicia / Oh when will justice come)
Tanta tirania, tanta tirania, tanta tirania / So much tyranny, so much tyranny, so much tyranny

(Ay cuando llegará la justicia / Oh when will justice come)
Justicia, que yo reclamo justiciar / Justice, I claim Justice

Choreography by Alyssa Aguilar & Takeshi Young.

Performed by the dancers of San Jose State University’s salsa dance team, “Spartan Mambo” (in order of appearance):

Jenny Zermeno
Vanshika Gupta
Odkhuu Batmunkh
Julie Clausen
Solomon Morales
Nicole Sotelo
Priya Pachori
Emily Fernandez
Jonathan Reynosa
Diana Alas
Edward Lee

Takeshi Young
Shakun Jain
Taseen Jawad
Angel Carvajal

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