Festejando Nuestra Comunidad is a community resource fair and celebration aimed at bringing together the Latinx community in Humboldt County. It will take place at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 16 at College of the Redwoods.
The event is a reimagined version of Festejando Nuestra Salud, an annual celebration that provided free health services, but went on a hiatus after a change in the administration of the host, LatinoNet. This year, the event will be organized by over five differ- ent organizations including El Centro Cultural Academico and Cal Poly Humboldt’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Cumbre Humboldt and LatinoNet.
Karen Paz Dominguez is the current Festejando Nuestra Comunidad Event Coordinator, but at one point she was also an avid attendee of Festejando Nuestra Salud.
“It was one of my favorite things to go to every year because it was family friendly,” Paz Dominguez said. “In our culture, we might live with our grandma, our mom, our kids, etc. Our family networks are so wide and expansive and it can be very challenging to find events or activities to do where everyone can go together.”
The idea behind Festejando Nuestra Comunidad came to be in 2019, when Lucy Salazar from Cumbre Humboldt and John Saldana from LatinoNet reached out to Community Development Coordinator, Fernando Paz at CPH to talk about organizing a similar county-wide event.
“My favorite thing about this whole thing is seeing what happens when people begin to share their dreams,” Paz said. “Dreams connect to one another and then it becomes this collective envisioning and we can start thinking of proposals to better serve our community.”
Paz Dominguez said that attendees to Festejando Nuestra Comunidad can expect mariachi, danza azteca, food and prizes for games including a two-night stay and dinner for two at Bear River Casino. There will also be resources for the Spanish-speaking community including access to government agencies, public health programs, social service programs, etc.
“You can expect to go to one place, get all of your needs met and have it be in your language,” she said.
For Pamela Reyes, the new event specialist for El Centro, speaking her primary language is a way of connecting with her roots and expanding her opportunities both in the job field and also at making connections.
“I want to speak Spanish and encourage others to speak it too,” Reyes said. “I feel like people can definitely take advantage of the opportunities that come with that.”