BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - Earlier this year Battle Creek’s City Commission voted to become a Welcoming City.
Essentially, that means the city will work on initiatives to become more inclusive of immigrant and refugee families. And although the issue has been polarizing, leaders in the Latino community say Hispanic Heritage Month isn’t the time to dwell on the argument.
Instead, local organizers plan to kick-off the month with a festival in downtown Battle Creek to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino people locally.
Event organizers from Kellogg Community College, New/Nueva Opinion, Willard Library and Voces say Latinos in Battle Creek have added to the economy with new businesses, are leaders in the city’s cultural development work and are involved in community events.
According to Census data, 5 percent of Calhoun County families are Hispanic, and of the 3 percent foreign-born population, 29 percent are from Latin America.
Here are five things you need to know about the festival:
What is the Hispanic Heritage Month Festival?
The festival is Battle Creek’s kick-off to a months-long celebration of the contributions of Latino people in the United States.
Where and what time is the festival?
Friendship Park in Battle Creek, 35 W Hamblin Ave., from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Who should go?
The festival is a family-friendly event open to the public. Josh Dunn, executive director of Voces, says he encourages non-Latino people to participate. He says the festival can present an opportunity to engage with and learn about the culture and traditions of Battle Creek’s Latino population.
How much does it cost and what should I expect?
The festival is free for everyone. Local Latino vendors will provide food and a variety of dance styles will be presented, including Zumba, flamenco and capoeira. Bring your dancing shoes.
Why is this important to the Battle Creek Community?
According to Jesus Grillo, publisher at New/Nuevo Opinion, the city has not had a large-scale Hispanic Heritage Month Festival in over a decade.
For more information about the event, click here.
(2016 © Battle Creek Enquirer)