Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrating Mexican Heritage

If you listen to Lincoln Avenue regularly, you may have noticed my ongoing interest in the local Mexican community. As I’ve written before, some of that is because of my own history, growing up in a city with a large Mexican population. But it also comes from my interest in immigration and ethnicity in the Mahoning Valley. You can’t miss the prevalence of Italians or Irish people in this area, but even though Mexicans have been here for about 90 years, they are a smaller and less visible part of the community.

But, as Rachel Flasco explains in this week’s interview, that doesn’t mean that Mexicans aren’t proud of their heritage, or that they don’t enjoy an opportunity to celebrate and share it. Rachel is President of the Sociedad Mutalista Mexicana, the Youngstown Mexican Club. In our conversation, she explains some of the ways the local Mexican community has changed over the years, shares some of her own family’s history, and talks about the activities of the Mexican Club.

You can join in one of those activities, the upcoming “Pre Cinco de Mayo Fiesta,” on Friday, May 1, at the Mastropietro Winery in Berlin Center. The event will feature Mexican food, music, and dancing.

1 comment:

Ben Lariccia said...

I listened with interest to the podcast interview with Rachel Flasco. The experiences of Mexicans in Youngstown–the first generation working in heavy industry and the newer ones moving into the professions and business–is similar to the history of Italians who had arrived a bit earlier.

Rachel mentioned “The Duc,” the social hall once located across from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Summit Avenue, Youngstown, as a venue for dances for Mexican Americans. The full name of this place was Duca degli Abruzzi (Duke of the Abruzzi), founded by the Italian community. I wonder what relations were like between the two ethnic communities, both historically Roman Catholic, both working in the local steel industry.

Thanks for the link to the Cinco de Mayo event.