FLINT, MI — The Flint community took advantage of the summer heat on Lewis Street at the Latinx Technology & Community Center on Saturday afternoon.
The community center hosted the Latinx Celebración event from 2-5 p.m. on August 6. It was a chance for kids to cool off on the waterslides and for local vendors and small businesses to make new connections.
Waterslides, bouncy houses, music, dancing, Latin American cuisine and children’s activities were all free to attendees. Executive Director Asa Zuccaro, who has been with the event for four years, was thrilled with the outcome.
“Each year has gotten a little bigger and bigger,” Zuccaro said. “This is the first year we have asked the City of Flint to close Lewis Street because we have outgrown our small courthouse in Hamilton. It’s exciting to see it growing every year.
Jennifer Padilla, a recent graduate of Michigan State University, was a saleswoman at the event for her lash company, “Ishashe.” In addition to promoting her new business at the event, she wanted to feel at home with her cultural roots.
“I just moved back to Flint and lost my connection to the Latinx community. I want to know more Latinos in Flint,” Padilla said. “My goal for today is to sell some of my items and also to meet new people that I have never met. I have already seen a lot of new faces that I have never seen before.
The Latinx Celebración was community driven for Zuccaro, volunteers, vendors and attendees.
“We’re a community hub, and I think what we see here at a community event is really this celebration of community,” Zucarro said.
The performance of the youth program was particularly gratifying, said Zucarro.
“Our young people have been here all summer, participating and learning more about the culture and learning more about the language, and learning more about leadership for our high school students,” Zucarro said. “So for them to be able to showcase and talk about what they did over the summer and then even highlight the cultural arts. I think it’s beautiful.
Cultural food vendors, businesses and volunteers, who help out and donate, also make the event special and possible, Zucarro said.
“It’s always great to be able to provide a platform for these small businesses, especially when they’re from our community,” Zucarro said. “We want to promote them properly and that’s important.”