Mexican culture is focus of events

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 13, 2002

An event to celebrate the Mexican Independence Day is taking place at the Albert Lea Civic Theater and Art Center downtown.

The organizers expect it will be an occasion to deepen understanding of the history of America’s southern neighbor and to recognize cultural diversity in our community.

The event will start with a film presentation at 3:30 p.m. in the theater about Mexican comedy actor Mario Moreno, better known as &uot;Canfinflas.&uot; Then, the participants, accompanied by music, will parade down to the Art Center where an exhibition featuring the works of Hispanic artists has been going on.

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On Sept. 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla made a monumental declaration of independence in the village of Dolores.

Hidalgo’s call for independence, &uot;the Cry of Dolores,&uot; was aimed at not only Mexican-born whites who had been frustrated by the dominance of native Spaniards, but also Indians and Mestizos, mixed-blood people. His involvement contributed to evolve the independence movement from the simple replacement of rulers to real social reform.

&uot;This is not just to celebrate the Mexican independence,&uot; said Linda Lares of Community Action, who helped organize the event. &uot;The message is to celebrate diversity we have in our community.&uot;

According to Census 2000, nearly 10 percent of Albert Lea residents are Latin American origin, mainly from Mexico.

&uot;A negative image and misunderstanding toward the new population still exist,&uot; Lares said. &uot;We sometimes forget the good aspects of those people. So many gifts and talents are brought to the U.S. with them.&uot;

Phyllis Talamantes, owner of Tienda Mexico, donated hors d’oeuvres and beverages for the reception at the Art Center.

&uot;There used to be a big festival here in Albert Lea,&uot; Talamantes recalled. &uot;People dressed up for the party and there was a contest to choose a queen. It was good to have such a ceremony and I hope we will have it back.&uot;