Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the food and music and share a bit of Hispanic culture during Saturday’s Cinco de Mayo Festival in Great Bend.
It comes at just the right time.
In an article in National Geographic News, Professor Robert Davis-Undiano at the University of Oklahoma said he sees Cinco de Mayo as a positive force that can bring Latinos and non-Latinos together, especially at a time when tensions surrounding the illegal immigration debate run high.
“I’m convinced there is a lot of unprocessed anxiety among non-Latinos concerning what changes that will come with a much larger Latino population,” he said. “Cinco de Mayo gives everyone a chance to feel like a single community.”
Laia Tena-Girones, who teaches Spanish at Barton Community College and at Smoky Valley High School in Lindsborg, agrees.
“Food and fiesta make us feel connected with each other, and bring understanding,” she said. She always encourages her students to participate in local Cinco de Mayo celebrations. “I love to hear students share what they have learned when getting out of their comfort zone and partaking in activities or holidays not their own.”
Jose Hernandez and others organizing the Cinco de Mayo Festival in Great Bend say this celebration is very important to our Latino community because it brings people together to celebrate, interact and to learn about other cultures.
The United States and Mexico will be neighbors for as long as both nations exist. More than 80 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt adopted the Good Neighbor Policy and promised to improve U.S. relations with Latin America. The term was used even earlier than that and had been used since, although efforts to be good neighbors have not always been successful. Locally, the people who will celebrate Cinco de Mayo are literally our neighbors — we see them in our stores, our schools and the places where we work, regardless of where our ancestors came from. Let’s share some neighborly hospitality and community friendliness this weekend and every day.