Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta aims to build bridges

Hispanic Heritage Month

GRAND HAVEN, Mich., (WOOD) — A group is working to shine a light on Latinx culture in and around Grand Haven.

Tri-Cities Puentes Initiative was founded last year after community members noticed very little access to Latin culture in Grand Haven, Ferrysburg and Spring Lake. 

“I have lived here in Grand Haven for 23 years. Usually when I would want to take part in my culture or go dancing, I would have to go to Grand Rapids,” Reyna Masko, co-chair of TCPI, said.

The Spanish word “puentes” translates to the word “bridges” in English. TCPI says true to its name, it wants to bridge the gap between cultures. 

This week, the organization is hosting a weeklong fiesta celebration in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Last year was the first celebration. Due to the pandemic, most 2020 fiesta events are now virtual. 

The group says it is important to expose more people to Latinx culture to help break down barriers and stereotypes. 

“We live in a time in which racial separation and violence and rhetoric has just sky rocketed. In particular, in the way in which we view people of color in the Hispanic and Latinx community,” Jared Kramer, who co-chairs TCPI, said. “At the highest level of our government, assumptions of violence and criminality which are fundamentally untrue and contrary to actual stats and numbers.”

TCPI is hosting several movie nights with discussions to follow via Zoom for the fiesta. It is also providing at home dance lessons on Facebook. 

A 2019 photo from the Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Festival courtesy TCPI.

Several restaurants in the area are participating, too. About a dozen “adopted” a country and will serve a drink or dish inspired by its culture.

The week will end with an in-person flag day parade at Central Park in Grand Haven. More information is available at TCPI’s website

Hispanic Heritage Month continues through Oct. 15.

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