Lorenzo Lopez has lived in Lansing for quite some time but hasn’t seen the city celebrate Mexican Independence Day the way people did when he was a kid.
Friday afternoon, a celebration downtown echoed his childhood memories as he brought a folklfromrico dance group, dishes from numerous Hispanic restaurants, politicians and many in the city’s Hispanic community to City Hall to celebrate Mexico’s freedom from Spain and Hispanic Heritage Month.
“It’s an extension of what we have always done in Lansing,” he said. “One of the things that I think is important is what happens after it.”
He led the crowd in various chants of “Long live Mexico!” — or “Long live Mexico” — a slogan that has rallied Mexicans for generations.
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Many of the Latino speakers at the event spoke to attendees in both English and Spanish, keeping Friday’s affair focused not just on Mexico’s independence, but other Central and South American countries that have fought for independence, too.
“We are thankful for the independence that happened all these years ago, but many people are still captured today,” Ingham County Commissioner Robert Pena said.
The event closed with Ballet Maria Luz performing traditional dances from the western Mexico state of Jalisco. Maria Arambula founded the group more than four decades ago and has conducted dance classes at Foster Community Center.
The troupe’s final performance was La China Poblana, a dance that started centuries ago when women wore dresses with low necklines that were considered scandalous and later banned.
“The people in rebellions and protests continued dancing it until it became the national dance in Mexico,” she said.
Lansing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Guadalupe Ayala urged everyone at the event to get to know business owners and become mentors for young people to expand Hispanic Heritage Month beyond 30 days.
“We’re not celebrating just Mexican Independence Day today, but the start of this month and the nations that also celebrate Hispanic pride in their independence days this month,” Ayala said in English.
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This News is Published from Google Alert – Hispanic Heritage Month.