Dear Community Member,
We are writing to invite you to be a part of a growing movement of celebration and inclusion in the Tri-Cities.
Last year, we hosted the first ever Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. With over $20,000 in community sponsorships, we threw an amazing block party in Central Park, one that exceeded our wildest hopes. With amazing food, a fantastic cantina, live music all day long, great kid’s activities, and an active Mercado full of vendors, we spent all day celebrating the Hispanic community that has been such an important part of our area for so many years—though often unrecognized. After all the bills were paid, we even were able to donate $5,000 to the Migrant Resource Council, the single largest donation they have received and one that will transform the services they can offer migrant workers in our area in 2020.
The energy from that Fiesta has only grown, as has the Team of those involved. Plans are now being laid for the 2020 Fiesta during the week of Monday, September 21 – Saturday, September 26. Mark your calendars! We’re going to build the momentum even though we are in the midst of a pandemic by five different types of safe, socially-distanced celebration:
>> Hispanic Heritage Restaurant Week – Restaurants in the Tri-Cities are invited to participate in a special restaurant week from Monday, September 21 – Saturday, September 26. Each restaurant will choose a country whose cuisine they want to showcase with a special appetizer, entrée, dessert, and drink. Each participating restaurant will donate a percentage of sales (at the restaurant’s choice) of the food to the TCPI. Whichever restaurant generated the most donations for TCPI will be crowned the 2020 Hispanic / Latinx Cuisine winner and highlighted in our media posts and communications.
>> Hispanic Heritage Food Truck Weekend – Saturday, September 26, we will invite food trucks that prepare Latin American and/or Hispanic Food to sign-up for pre-arranged spots throughout the Tri-Cities from 11am – 9pm. We’ll have a map available for what will be the most satisfying scavenger food hunt you’ve ever been on!
>> Hispanic Heritage Film Festival – Each night, from Monday, September 21
– Saturday, September 26, the TCPI will highlight a film of relevance to Latinx history and culture. Families, individuals, and small groups will be invited to watch the film at home and then, if they wish, participate in a Zoom discussion on the film at 8pm each night, led by a member of TCPI or a community leader.
>> Hispanic Heritage Virtual Mercado – West Michigan businesses owned by members of the Hispanic community, along with organizations which serve the Hispanic community, will be invited to make a donation of their own choosing to the work of TCPI and, in response, to receive a spot in the Hispanic Heritage Virtual Mercado. Videos highlighting each individual vendor and links to the vendor’s website will be highlighted on the TCPI website and also on a schedule of social media posts throughout Hispanic Heritage Month.
>> Virtual Dance Night – Each night during the week we will post a short video(s) with a teaching on a Latin American dance routine. People will be invited to participate in their own homes and learn some great traditional Latin American dances.
But that’s not all. We have formed a new 501c3 entity known as the Tri-Cities Puentes Initiative (TCPI). Puentes is the Spanish word for bridge—a potent symbol for our area and the inspiring symbol for what our organization wants to do: build bridges between Hispanic/Latinx culture and the larger Tri-Cities community.
We’re hoping you will help us. We are hoping to raise $10,000 for costs associate with the Fiesta week and $5,000 for startup costs for the new organization that will organize these events.
Please consider joining us in this important work, celebrating the heritage and culture of the Hispanic community in Grand Haven.
Reyna Makso, Ottawa County Cultural Intelligence Committee , Co-Chair
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Co-Chair