In the News
BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER
In 2019, the first-ever Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta brought thousands of people to Central Park for a day of celebrating the riches of the Hispanic heritage and culture present in our area. After expenses, the Fiesta made a donation of nearly $5,000 to the Migrant Resource Council, the largest gift that the organization has ever received.
In 2020, given the nature of the global Coronavirus Pandemic, many festivals were canceled; but the Grand Haven City Council approved plans for a 2020 Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta week to be held September 21 through September 26. Half of the proceeds from the 2020 Fiesta went to Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates.
Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates (LIA) is a local nonprofit law office that works to bring stability to West Michigan families and communities through legal services, education, and advocacy. LIA is the only nonprofit organization in the greater Ottawa County area that provides these critical services to the immigrant community. “We are incredibly honored that the GHHHF team has chosen to partner with us in this way,” Julia Fulton from LIA said. “Our team had a great time last year, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to safely connect with the Grand Haven community this fall.”
The Fiesta will be one of the primary programs offered each year by the TCPI, but the hope in 2021 is that regular programs can be offered throughout the year that will educate people about Hispanic history in the Tri-Cities and celebrate Hispanic culture. “I am excited about the creation of TCPI and that we will be able to have a Fiesta again this year,” said Reyna Masko, co-chair of the Fiesta and of TCPI and a member of the City of Grand Haven Human Relations Commission, “We want to be an organization that brings people together by building bridges (puentes) through education, celebration and more importantly provide leadership opportunities for Hispanic/Latinx residents that call Tri-Cities their home.”
Leadership wasn’t sure what to expect for the first Fiesta. “When we first announced plans for last year’s Fiesta, we were met with skepticism, a sense that there wasn’t a significant Hispanic heritage and culture in the Tri-Cities,” said the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer, co-chair of the Fiesta and of TCPI and also rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven. However, the Fiesta leaders found that after a celebration that included thousands of community members, they were able to affirm that the presence of Hispanics and Latinos in our community is a strong one. Cramer continued, “We were also able to highlight the fact that Hispanics and Latinos contribute much more to our communities than agricultural work; they are artists, musicians, business owners, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and community leaders.”