Creciendo Juntos

Creciendo Juntos

LEARNING, LEADING AND GROWING TOGETHER.

The Latinx Summer Baile

Organizing a “baile” (dance party in Spanish) to raise money for our Latinx Student Art Scholarship was no joke. It had many errors, trials, and long nights, but most definitely worth it. The idea came to mind when I was brainstorming about what were some main thing that could bring Latinx members together.

Of course, a baile was one of the first things that came to mind because in my eyes dancing is a big part of my culture, something I’m always trying to show off because I’m really proud of it. As a Mexican, I grew up in the culture where dancing was the best way to celebrate a positive news. This influenced me to see dancing as unity and celebration rather than a sport. Not only that, in Latin cultures, we had several styles of dancing as well so there were several ways to bring our diverse cultures together.

I thought, why not? Thus, my decision to put the idea out there with some of the other members from the Latinx Leaders happened. So far, everyone saw it as a great idea and also as a way to raise money for a scholarship. The scholarship was proposed by another member who was struggling to find methods to fund it. It was suggested that we could combine our ideas together, therefore, the reason for the baile became more impactful. The scholarship is for Latinx students who are artists as well. As a person with artistic friends, this aligned with my mission goal in creating this baile even more.

We started working on it as soon as we could. It took a lot of pushing ourselves and disciplining our schedules as well to make it happen. It was overwhelming due to the fact we didn’t have that much time since we were preoccupied with many other projects and personal life until the last week of June. Once we were able to find the time, we sat down with some friends we sat down and planned the whole thing. It wasn’t overnight. It was multiple days and several distractions. We could have definitely done better in not being distracted, I think.

When the planning was over we went straight into action. What did that look like? It was a ton of asking for acting for donations, finding sponsors, getting volunteers, buying supplies, finding a location, all of that within a couple of months. That was overwhelming as it is. The location was a blessing as it was recommended by Karina, our coordinator of CJ, to ask The Art Bridge PAI in letting us use the building. They were amazing and donated their building and time.

Our next goal was to find DJs and figuring out the music. As I explained earlier, growing up as a Mexicana, my exposure to music has always been Latin-influenced. But that meant so many genres, the discussion was how to balance them all. I wanted to be inclusive with different genres as each is popular in different countries. After some discussion with the core team members, we were able to discuss with our DJs the music we wanted. The DJs were amazing and connected to us by volunteer members and asking around within our networks.

Before all of this, we were also struggling in finding a restaurant or taco truck but unfortunately, we were not as lucky as we were with DJs and location. We have contacted several taco trucks and each of them promised a call back or a meeting, but as it was delayed over time, we were becoming more stressed out. Personally, I was being pushed back or dismissed after several attempts of meeting or calling, until Super Almanacer provided us pupusas and ingredients to make dishes. However, as it was so last minute, we had to do the food on the day of the baile, which was made possible with our many friends and volunteers.

When the date finally came, it was intimidating. I did not sleep well and even had to do last minute shopping as my mind was still thinking of ways to make the event pop. A dance for the community to remember. It was the day to show the community what we have been planning for the last two months. In this moment I felt a little anxious what if no one showed? Or what if we didn’t have enough food? There was a ton of What Ifs going through my head and I was ready to snap. So, when I looked over and saw everyone else that was helping me I felt a sense of relief knowing I wasn’t alone.
Overall, on the morning of the event, the volunteers and myself had to wake up early in the morning to get straight to cooking baleadas, taquitos, and tamales. It was a hot mess for sure. We also had to make sure we arrived to set up. Setting up in under two hours was not fun but we managed to do it and I was relieved that my friends and volunteers were able to help me through this. As soon as 6:30pm hit, I was anxious to see who were going to come but people started to show up and I felt as if I could breathe again. Before I knew it, I was dancing and having fun with everyone.

Everything was falling into place and people were having a good time. This is what reminds me of my culture, the dancing and the community coming together. I know people were asking questions about the food, asking questions about the scholarship, and even the meaning behind the word “latinx” which gave me hope that people are here to listen and we are here to grow together. It was a success even if we didn’t make it to our goal of making $400. At the end of the day, I got to see several people have fun and come together and as a result, I felt that we had pulled it off.

But through this experience, I learned that it’s really hard to plan an event in two months but that it’s not impossible. Although, next time in planning, I should definitely go into action several months ahead of time. But it’s a learning experience and as a first-timer in hosting a baile, I think I killed it. It’s really great to have people who believe in the unity and want to support you and that’s what I had. I learned that when the latinx communities come together we can be very powerful. I learned that sticking together is the most powerful tool of all and that we shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

Sofhia S. Pineda
Sergio Reyes
Junior Castro
Dulce Nova
Melanie Saravia
Veronica Espinosa
Alexandra Maldonado
Elizabeth Valtierra
Zach Davis
Pilar Valtierra
Jacinto Gonzales
Salvador Gaona
James Doenburg

Written by Alexandra Maldonado

Edited by Elizabeth Valtierra
Click Here to Read August 2019 Newsletter.

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