PUEBLO — It's Cinco de Mayo, a day to celebrate Mexico's history and culture, and festivities to highlight Mexican pride were happening in Pueblo this evening.
People gathered at Plaza Verde Park for the 52nd annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. It’s been a tradition for more than half a century in a community with a large Hispanic population.
“I think the Chicano community in Pueblo is very strong. I think that it means to us that we really identify with our roots, with our culture, and with our history,” said Neva Martinez-Ortega. “To Chicano people, it really means having that day of cultural pride, and a day of education to not only talk about the past, but what's currently going on in our community and what’s really affecting us.”
Part of the celebration is recognizing people who've passed away, followed by a driving cruise in Pueblo communities to celebrate Mexican culture. However the event has celebrated differently the past three years. Instead of the entire event in one area, the community gathers for a cruise and visits different neighborhoods in the city.
“It’s important that we're just reminding people that Cinco de Mayo is here. It's rooted in the Chicano movement back from the 60s and 70s in Pueblo. We use this day as a day of education to educate our community and show support for different issues that are affecting our community,” said Denise Torrez, “We still don’t feel uncomfortable for our people because Latinos have been hit really hard with COVID, and we want to keep our people safe.”
Torrez and Martinez-Ortega are both members of the organization called El Movimiento Sigue, which translates to, “the movement continues.” The organization keeps old Chicano traditions and the culture alive.
“The Chicano movement continues, as my mom always said, ‘el movimiento sigue,’ and so I think it's a way to connect to my parents, my ancestors, and our community that still needs us,” said Martinez-Ortega.
Martinez-Ortega's parents, who passed away, played a big role in keeping the Cinco de Mayo tradition alive in Pueblo for so many years. Now, more than 50 years later, the community still comes together on this day every year.
“The message we take from that is resiliency, and that's what Cinco de Mayo in Pueblo for the past 52 years has encompassed, is that resiliency of our people.”
Part of the celebration was volunteers filling up nearly 150 boxes of food on Thursday afternoon and giving it away to the community.
There were also entertainers, speakers, folklorico performances, and mariachi band performances at different parks and neighborhoods in Pueblo.