Group seeking influential Latina hero to name downtown alleyway after

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Latino Community Coalition wants to name a downtown alleyway after an influential Latina hero and they’re asking for the public to submit nominations. It’s part of the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Women’s Way Initiative.

Leaders with the Latino Community Coalition say they don’t feel fully represented downtown and they want this to signify they belong in the city, too.

“We’re physically here, but if you open up a book it’s really hard to find,” said Eleanor Moreno, a steering committee member of the Latino Community Coalition.

As members of the coalition, both Moreno and Sergio Cira-Reyes are looking to nominate an influential Latina woman who has passed on and use her name to bring new life to a downtown alleyway. 

“Who was a great tia, who was a great cousin, a neighbor, we’re looking for those unsung heroes,” said Moreno. “Just really wanting to honor our history that doesn’t exist across our city.”

These two say right now, the Latinx community feels underrepresented.

“Hearing stories and also feeling it myself of like ‘oh, do we really belong here?’,” said Moreno.  

They’re hoping this alleyway near Oakes Street and Grandville Avenue could help change that.

“We wanted to create a permanent physical representation of our culture because that’s something that’s lacking in our community,” said Cira-Reyes.

These two hope by sharing their cultures’ stories, people will become more inclusive.

“We can be here, we can show up, we can celebrate, we can bring our culture, we can bring our heritage to this space and really kind of think about what it means to have a place there,” said Moreno.

The Latino Community Coalition is hosting a Facebook Live conversation on Tuesday at 6 p.m. about the project.

More information about how to nominate an influential Latina hero can be found online.

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