How Latino organizations are spreading arts and culture throughout Bay Area

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Sunday, September 17, 2023
How Latino organizations are spreading arts, culture in Bay Area
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we are featuring multiple organizations that are making a difference in the arts.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It is the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month and to celebrate Latinos in our community, we are featuring multiple organizations that are making a difference in the arts.

ABC7 news reporter Luz Peña spoke to the foundation that's distributing $2 million dollars to help make this a reality throughout California.

Dance, music and art are some of the pillars of the Latino Community.

"We have weekly classes, many for children and adults. You can learn anything from Bomba, from Puerto Rico, which is traditional dance and music from Puerto Rico. We have Huarache from Veracruz Mexico," said Natalia Neira, executive director of La Peña.

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For five decades, La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley has become a hub for the Latino Community to, not only celebrate, but also to organize.

"This mural, it's called the song of unity. It talks about Latin American and North America coming together," Neira said.

The memorial outside gave us a glimpse into their history.

"La Peña is a Cultural Center that was founded in the wake of a tragedy almost 50 years ago. La Peña was started as a direct creative response to a coup that happened in Chile," Neira said.

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In San Francisco, for over 50 years the arts and media organization, Acción Latina has also been key for the Latino community.

"This is a place where we showcase emerging and established LatinX artists. They can submit a proposal and tell us what story they want to tell," said Fátima Ramírez, Executive Director of Acción Latina.

Acción Latina is also responsible for publishing the historic El Tecolote newspaper.

For 53 years El Tecolote has been informing the Latino Community throughout the Bay Area. This is the longest-running consecutively published bilingual newspaper in California.

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To keep these organizations thriving the Latino Community Foundation is now investing $2 million dollars to support 28 organizations. Acción Latina and La Peña are part of that group.

"Latinos are so much more than we often say. They are artists they are creative. They have an imagination that is wild and beautiful and can create amazing projects, movies, music. All the things happening around us," said Adriana Sanchez Saldivar, director of Community Organizing for the Latino Community Foundation.

A support that's vital to keep celebrating and growing.

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