Sunday, May 04, 2008

Cinco de Mayo celebration in the City of Richmond, California ...

This was yesterday, and oh how I wish the lighting were better on these photos -- that you could really see this beautiful little Inca child!

The photo on the right shows an unidentified lovely celebrant, two members of the Richmond City Council; John Marquez and traditionally turbanned Harpreet Sandhu, with Betty in the middle.

And -- if I could just find myself some idle genie with wishes to toss around -- I would wish that the banner being held by Nicole Santiago, Jovanka Beckles, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Marilyn Langlois and at the far right end (dimly lit at the end under the floating hat) Betty -- would announce our present state of civic greatness and place less emphasis on a declaration that we have miles yet to go!

The big thrill for me was seeing all those beautiful "Latino" faces that -- in our everyday-on-the-street-lives morph into a simplistic whole -- to see them suddenly break out into every colorful culture and costume from Central and South America! Suddenly to be aware of Salvadorans, Guatamalans, Chileans, Mexicans, Brazilians, Argentinians, etc., and how rich it felt! That there was suddenly a burst of marching, dancing, and drumming children of every skin color -- but speaking foreign tongues; including slave-descended black children from every country below our southern border -- children who bridge cultures and languages and who are striving so hard to be "American" with varying degrees of success.

The parking lot on 24th and Barrett, yesterday, where we gathered to organize ourselves into a parade -- was alive with color and the sounds of drumming and pride and I was keenly aware that the multinational, multicultural, ethnically diverse and peaceful world we long for has already been created here in this low income working-class community that cries out to be celebrated for what it is -- and far less for what we hope it may become!

I am so proud to be a part of a world that bespeaks the future. We have only to recognize it for what it is and stand tall in a world desperately searching for achievable models of governance. We, too, are America, and the nation's spirit and aspirations live quite comfortably in this unassuming city of Richmond. Even when we're unaware that we carry the legacy -- on days like yesterday, we're celebrating the hopes and dreams of those who've gone before us; immigrants all!

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