Danza de los Voladores de Papantla
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology Presents
A Special Event for El Paso: Danza de los Voladores de Papantla | Dance of Papantla’s Flyers
The renowned Voladores de Papantla from the state of Veracruz, Mexico, who are famous for their daring performances which take place high above the ground, are coming to the El Paso Museum of Archaeology on August 3rd. A group of five Totonac Indians perform a ritualistic dance atop a 70 foot high pole. One stays at the top playing a flute and drum while the remaining four descend to the ground head first with the aid of ropes tied around their bodies. The ropes unwind 13 times for each of the four flyers as they circle the pole, symbolizing the 52 year calendrical cycle.
Due to this unique all day event, the museum and grounds will be open only for this event from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for the very low entry fee of $5.00 per person (free to children age 6 and under). This fee includes two performances of the Voladores de Papantla one at 10:00 am and one at 2:00 pm, additional entertainment by local music and dance groups, refreshments, and access to the museum’s galleries. Scheduling of the entertainment and other details will be announced soon.
The dance of the Voladores de Papantla has become characteristic of the Totonac culture of the state of Veracruz and represents part of Mexico’s national patrimony. The dance is not only remarkable for its uniqueness and preservation of ancient calendrical elements, but also because it has survived into modern times. Over 1,500 people saw the first ever El Paso performances of the Voladores de Papantla in October 2008 at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology.
The Friends of the El Paso Museum of Archaeology are sponsoring this great contribution to El Paso and our regional community. LEON’S Production Sound’s is the major event sponsor. Additional sponsors at this time are El Paso Museum of Archaeology, El Paso International Airport, El Paso Electric, the Franklin Mountains Rotary Club, Trans-Pecos Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist, Dr. Richard Teschner and Carol Baker.
Saturday, August 3, 2013, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Museum Location: El Paso Museum of Archaeology, 4301 Transmountain Road, El Paso, Texas 79924 in Northeast El Paso
Sierra Providence Health Network Celebrates Providence Memorial Wound Care Open House
Sierra Providence Health Network (SPHN) celebrated the Heal This Open House of the newly remodeled Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine at Providence Memorial Hospital, on Wednesday, July 10 at 10 a.m. at 2101 N. Oregon (located next door to Providence Children’s Hospital). Wound Care Center physicians, certified technicians and staff were on hand to answer questions, and guests had access to the cutting-edge Hyperbaric Oxygen Healing chambers (HBO) used for wound healing.
Providence Memorial Hospital Wound Care Center has partnered with Healogics, the nation’s leading wound care management company that works with a hospitals across the nation, bringing them innovative technologies such as Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) management, negative pressure therapies, and biosynthetics to insure that patients receive the best and most innovative treatment available.
“We are excited to open our doors to our community and showcase our renovated center, our excellent team of physicians and staff specializing in wound care,” said Eddie Luna, Program Director. “Our ultimate goal is to restore the patient’s quality of life by providing them with the most advanced wound care options available in the El Paso region.”
For over 20 years, Providence Memorial Hospital has been providing wound care services. Now we are celebrating the remodeling and expansion of the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine at Providence Memorial Hospital with the addition of the Hyperbaric Oxygen Healing chambers (HBO). The Wound Care Center diagnoses, tests, and treats chronic and non-healing wounds through the use of specialized treatment programs.
It is estimated that about 8 million people in the United States suffer from chronic wounds. Those likely to be candidates for wound care treatment at the Providence Memorial Hospital Wound Care Center are those suffering from diabetic and pressure ulcers, burns, infections, radiation wounds, and wounds that have not healed within 30 days.
About Sierra Providence Health Network:
Sierra Providence Health Network includes Sierra Providence East Medical Center, Sierra Medical Center, Providence Memorial Hospital and Providence Children’s Hospital. The Network also offers a wide range of outpatient services including Sierra Providence TotalCare, Sierra Providence Urgent Care Centers, Sierra Providence Trawood Center and ER, Sierra Teen and Women’s Centers, Wound Care Centers and Sierra Providence Sleep Disorders Center.
Go Forth This July: Set One Goal, and Make It Happen
By Marilynn Preston
Except for the firecrackers, I pretty much like everything associated with the Fourth of July.
Lively summer gatherings with family and friends, a chance to practice deep breathing and anger management.
Patriotic parades honoring brave men and women who fight for our freedom while struggling to fend off sexual assault from fellow soldiers.
And let’s not forget the July food fests: the corn roasts, the watermelon feeds, the sustainable, attainable, mostly organic picnics where all guests leave their cellphones in the car.
This July Fourth I want to celebrate your freedom to create a healthier, happier lifestyle for yourself. In the words of the esteemed LL Cool J, “Stay focused, go after your dreams, and keep moving toward your goals.”
SET ONE GOAL. Remember your first KISS? Keep it simple, stupid. This summer, set one healthy lifestyle goal for yourself, something that’s been bouncing around your brain, something non-sedentary that interests you and might make you sweat.
This requires thinking, which requires stopping all that you are doing, sitting quietly and creating a mental picture of yourself, in the near future, living a calmer life that feels healthier, happier, more satisfying. Where are you? Who’s with you? What are you doing?
Maybe you’re working in a community garden, growing a tomato plant with your son, so he knows they’re not meant to come out of plastic tubes, taste-free.
Or perhaps your mind’s eye pictures you kite surfing, floating through the air in a blissful, weightless way that lifts your spirits and gets your adrenaline flowing, because that’s what adventure sports do so well.
Or maybe you see yourself pedaling your bike around a peaceful little lake, and your goal for the end of September is to ride your bike 30 miles in one day, without it becoming a near-death experience.
Your summer goal needs to come from you. A trainer or coach who sets healthy lifestyle goals for you is of limited value, long term, because you learn much more from what you say than from what you hear.
In fitness, as in relationships, telling another person what to do is not a clever way to change behavior. What works better — according to experts in behavior modification — is to set your own goal, own it, write it down and be very specific.
GIVE YOURSELF THE NEXT THREE MONTHS. Once you decide on a meaningful goal, give yourself July, August and September to make it happen. Some people can change overnight. One day you’re eating burgers five times a week; the next day you fall in love with kale. Others think they can’t change at all, even though they keep trying.
Don’t try, Yoda told us. Just do. Three months is long enough to create a new habit, and short enough to hold your interest. Be sure to keep a journal going, to record your successes and your setbacks (let ’em go!), and keep you focused and positive.
SET WEEKLY GOALS. Once you have your three-month goal, think about what you need to do, beginning this week, to move you in that direction. Start where you are. Let’s say your goal is to ride your bike 30 miles for a charity event in September. Right now, the farthest you can go is 12 miles. Ride the 12, and check in with yourself. Re-energize with water and a snack. Take a short rest. Get back on, and see how it feels to go another 10-20 minutes. Play with your resistance to doing more. Your weekly goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and timelined.
Here’s an example of a vague, useless goal: “I’m going to eat healthier next week.” The S.M.A.R.T. version, from my own journal of 1988: “I’m going to eat a big green salad for lunch four days this week, and it’ll include organic tomatoes from the farmer’s market, feta, olives, garbanzos and capers, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. ”
Make this July Fourth an explosive one. Set one big goal for three months from now, and create weekly S.M.A.R.T. goals to get you there. And don’t let anything rain on your parade.
ENERGY EXPRESS-O! TED TELLS THE TRUTH
“A man has to have goals — for a day, for a lifetime — and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'” — Ted Williams
Marilynn Preston — fitness expert, well-being coach and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues — is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, http://marilynnpreston.com and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to MyEnergyExpress@aol.com
COPYRIGHT 2013 ENERGY EXPRESS, LTD.
Oscar Leeser sworn in as mayor
Story and photos by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
After 8 years under John Cook, Oscar Leeser was sworn in as El Paso’s new mayor on Monday at a special ceremony at the Plaza Theater. He, along with several incumbent and newly elected representatives and judges, were greeted by several hundred well-wishers, family members and concerned citizens. Cook was in the audience and recognized by Leeser and others for his years of service to the city.
New officials included Oscar Leeser, who currently also serves as President of Hyundai of El Paso; Larry Romero, City Rep District 2, is owner of Romero Financial Services; Lily Limon, City Rep District 7, is a retired educator. Incumbents Emma Acosta and Carl Robinson, and Municipal Court Judges Richard Olivo, Maximino Daniel Munoz, and Odell Holmes were also sworn in.
Many of the newly elected officials brought close family to the swearing in ceremony to help celebrate. Leeser’s grandchildren, Dylan and Lucas Ramirez, helped lead the crowd in the pledge of allegiance before a member of the El Paso Fire Department sang the national anthem. Lily Limon brought her 87 year old grandmother and Emma Acosta brought three of her grandchildren to the stage.
All the speakers pledged their focus to deal with the many issues they have to tackle in the coming years. Leeser reiterated many of his campaign promises, including teamwork and transparency. His campaign raised over $300,000, including about $90,000 of his own money. He pledged to donate all $47,000 of his yearly salary that he would receive as mayor to charity organizations. The new mayor will lead city council meetings starting this week. Leeser introduced his wife, children and grandchildren to the audience, stating that “family is the most important thing in my life, and we have just expanded our family to the City of El Paso.”
Incumbents Emma Acosta, District 3, and Carl Robinson, District 4, will be returning to the council after winning in different styles. Acosta, who was accompanied by three of her grandchildren for her swearing-in, ran unopposed in the East side. She joked that it was an achievement to receive 100% of the vote. Robinson, on the other hand, ran a tight race that was decided by less than 30 votes. He stated that he “was living proof that every vote counts.”
Perhaps the loudest support came for new city representative Lily Limon in District 7. She thanked her many supporters and campaign workers, many in attendance. She recited an ancient Greek pledge that promised that she, “will never bring disgrace to our city by an act of dishonesty or cowardice…we will transmit this city no less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
Municipal Court Judge Odell Holmes stated, “We are lucky people who because of the trust of the voters of El Paso, we have the opportunity to use our best efforts to fulfill their expectations, but with opportunity comes responsibility to do our best to meet those expectations.”
The loudest ovation of the night came for incumbent Municipal Court Judge Maximino Daniel Munoz who started off by poking fun at the announced possible names for the coming Triple A baseball team. “I don’t believe anybody in El Paso looks like an Aardvark or a Sun Dog to me!…I’m going to pray that we don’t get stuck with any of those names at all!” He gave his own suggestion when he told the story of one of the names for the pioneers that came with Don Juan de Onate, “Los Adelantados”, Spanish for “the ones that go ahead and face the dangers…I’d rather be an Adelantado, than an Aardvark!” Munoz equated the City of El Paso to the Adelantados. ” We are strong! We are full of character, and we will make the city better!”
New Downtown Collective Presents: MELT
The owners of various restaurants, bars, shops and theaters along with the El Paso Downtown Management District invite you to Melt, a downtown open house event with food, drink, and hotel specials, free craft beer tastings, giveaways, and live entertainment. Melt will be held on the last Saturday of every month and focuses on highlighting the “new wave” independent businesses of downtown. Melt: Last Saturdays Downtown, officially kicks off on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Restaurants will have a 15% discount off menu items, bars will serve $3 bottles and/or pints of the craft beer of the month, and The Gardner Hotel and Camino Real will be implementing reduced rates for the night. There will also be live bands and DJs with retail shops providing information for the event, as well as craft beer tastings.
“I envision a day when people get in their cars or on their bikes and just head downtown without any particular place in mind,” said Hector Saenz, owner of the Hello Day Cafe and partial founder of the event. “Downtown becomes the destination.”
The idea came about as the owners of Hello Day Cafe, Tabla, and Pot au Feu began a loose collective of downtown business owners, who were soon inspired to create the event in order to have one day of the month where the people of El Paso could explore and familiarize themselves with downtown and all it has to offer. They have also partnered with the El Paso Downtown Management District, The City of El Paso KickstArt program and L&F Distributors to help fund and organize the event. “These guys, in many ways, are changing the business pattern for Downtown.” Said Verónica Soto, Executive Director of the Downtown Management District.
June Melt Info:
Date: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Time: 3PM – 2AM
Location: Downtown El Paso
Participants: Bowie Feathers, La Casa del Puro, Gardner Hotel, Hello Day Cafe, Loft Light Studio, The Network, La Oveja, The Percolator, Pot au Feu, SoHo, Tabla, Tea + Garden, Tricky Falls
Schedule: tba @ http://www.facebook.com/MeltDowntownEP
His Best Father’s Day Ever!
By: Doug Mayberry
Q: As a loving wife and mother of three teenagers, I struggle every year to show my husband and lover how much he means to us on Father’s Day. I encourage our kids to make suggestions and to help make Dad’s day special. He has few avocations, plenty of ties and shirts, and he likes his watch. He is a loving, trusting and available father. He really does not want things and enjoys just being together as a family for his holiday.
Can you share any thoughts and ideas that you think would make this year special for him?
A: Father’s want respect and love most, not material things. They want to hear “Thanks” and “I Love you.” Often families do not get this done as frequently as they should because we are busy, busy, and forget how meaningful important this is. One family, when told by a family member that they love them, responds regularly with “I love you more!” It is a winner.
Ask each family member, including youself, to sit down and write Dad a love letter. Tell him he is the best dad ever and explain why. Remind him how important and needed he is and how much he has helped them with their schoolwork, learning to throw a baseball, driving, how to ride a bike and how doing so has meant so much to the family. Remind him how he is appreciated for the many times he has stepped up when others in the family were having a bad day.
Handing him the letters with a hug is not a bad idea either!
Loving families are allies, not enemies, but sometimes guiding children in the right direction can cause friction and frustration. Thank him for always being there for the family and for keeping everyone on the track to success and happiness.
They may be at that stage when they are beginning to understand that they also may become parents one day and can learn from the principles instilled by their own mom and dad. You can bet these letters will be winners, will be read frequently and stored for a lifetime.
Rarely do fathers receive these loving letters! Happy Father’s Day!
MacFarland seeks to continue Ft. Bliss partnership with El Paso
Story and photos by: Ricky J. Carrasco
Major General Sean MacFarland recently took over as commander of Fort Bliss from Major General Dana Pittard. Pittard was a greatly respected general who, in his three years as commander, took steps to enhance and modernize the largest Army training base in the country. On May 31, General MacFarland was formally introduced to the local media who had many questions about how the incoming commander would handle his time here in El Paso.
The press conference started with questions from national media outlets that were concerned with the current struggles in Syria and Afghanistan. MacFarland will soon be taking a trip to Jordan to participate in the current joint training with US armed forces and the Jordanian military. He stated that the soldiers and staff in place there are only a nucleus of the command and “no more soldiers are expected to go, but there are contingency plans in place if hostilities in the area increase. We are concerned of the spill over into other countries, which is why we are partnering up with Jordan to enforce and defend their borders.”
MacFarland recently spent 15 months in Afghanistan overseeing the buildup of the Afghan local police. There are currently 20000 local members and the plan is to build up the police force up to 30000 officers by 2014. He claims, “There is a high degree of trust between local police and American forces. We’ve spent a great deal of time working with local authorities, and the main ingredient of that work is a high degree of trust.”
The local media was more concerned on how MacFarland’s command strategy will differ from General Pittard’s. MacFarland is already acquainted with the area as his grandfather served on this base and he himself served at Ft. Bliss in the 80’s. He also recently served as the commander of Joint Task Force North which provided Department of Defense support to US border security forces. When asked about how that experience would influence his command, he answered, “There is much inter-agency tasking, so with my experience, if another agency needs our help in terms of border security, I will facilitate it.”
On the question of how recent sequestration budget cuts will affect the running of the base: “It’s all about combat readiness. Our mission is still to fight and win the nation’s wars. The cornerstone of that is lethality. That is what gives us our street cred in that we are the most lethal force on the planet. We try to take care of the soldier and his health and family to ensure each soldier is focused.” He explained that even with budget cuts, the most important thing he can do is foster leadership, which does not cost anything in a small scale. “I think Ft. Bliss is blessed in its location. Though the Army will reduce in its overall population, Ft. Bliss should fare will with the reductions.”
“We will not become a hollow force. We have a lot of equipment and we will be good stewards of the equipment we have.”
The commander will continue the “Easy Access” policy implemented by Pittard, meaning that many civilians and most media will have reasonable access to non-critical areas of the base, such as the Freedom Crossing shopping center. As for media access, like today’s press conference, MacFarland stated that this is “the largest army post alongside the largest civilian community together, so I would anticipate to continue to be pretty open with the media.”
MacFarland applauded Pittards innovations like the implementation of the MicroGrid that will protect Ft. Bliss against blackouts or power failures by tapping into the area’s natural resources like wind and solar energy sources. He did warn that it should not be seen that he will make Ft. Bliss into “an experimental platform.”
Short term plans for the new commander and his wife include unpacking boxes to complete the move and going to find good places to go eat in El Paso. He joked, “I have a few that I like. I won’t say where they are though.” He plans to return in mid-June to spend time with his son who will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.
MacFarland also sent out a message to the soldiers at Ft. Bliss, “It is a tremendous honor to serve as their commander, and I underline the word ‘serve’ because even as leaders, our job is to serve our troops. The best way to serve them is to make them the best trained soldiers I can possibly make them and to make sure their families are taken care of.”
To the people of El Paso, he said, “You really make this post one of the best places to be a soldier anywhere. El Paso is a hometown to us and we are very, very happy to be back home. We thank the people of El Paso for their commitment to our troops. We look to further our partnership with the city in any way we possibly can.”
Legion Riders USO Run
Story and photos by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
In April, Post 598 Legion Riders held their 3rd annual run to benefit the USO. The United Service Organization was organized in 1941 to help soldier morale during the impeding World War II. The USO now has over 160 locations around the world and serves over 5 million visitors every year.
On their run, the Legion Riders had about 250 registered participants and raised $4800 specifically for the El Paso USO. Legion Rider Daniel Chavez, Army Ret., a 25 year veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne, spoke on the post’s behalf: “We had a successful run and participation for all the El Paso posts. We even had Legion Riders come down from Arizona just for this run.”
When asked what the USO meant to him, he was very appreciative of their efforts for soldiers. “I remember a social that they organized in Giebelstadt, Germany. They brought in singers and dancers. They had tents with soup, ice cream. They had places where you can play video games and others where you could take a nap. It was a nice feeling of being appreciated.”
The Legion Riders, made entirely of military veterans, are continually working for the El Paso community. Probably their biggest effort is their Thanksgiving turkey dinner giveaway in the colonias in east El Paso County. Last year, they served a package with a full turkey dinner for about 200 families. Some were even taken directly to the family’s homes via a parade of Riders.
Daniel Chavez wanted to personally address the participants of their run: “Thank you for supporting the USO and everything they do for soldiers.”
Memorial Day Service
FORT BLISS, Texas—Fort Bliss officials and 1 Armored Division Soldiers will conduct a Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 27 at 9a.m., at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery. The service will be conducted in honor of the service men and women of the United States who gave their lives in the defense of this country.During the memorial service the Commanding General of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard will deliver an address to honor the fallen men and women of the United States Armed Forces and 1st Armored Division.
The main entrance / gate to the cemetery, on Fred Wilson, will be CLOSED to vehicular traffic for the duration of this event; the walk-in gate will be OPEN to pedestrians. Visitors to the Memorial Day Service are encouraged to use SHERIDAN GATE for access to the National Cemetery. Parking will be on JEB Stuart and Haan Road’s, on Fort Bliss, directly to the side and behind the cemetery.
Armed Forces Day
May 18th marks Armed Forces Day and will be celebrated throughout Fort Bliss. The Third annual Armed Forces Day Triathlon at Fort Bliss kicks all the festivities at 7a.m. with a race that is open to all active military and any family members and anyone in the El Paso community that would like to join the fun. community. For more information, call 744-5793 or 744-5794. All other events will take place from 10am-5pm at Biggs Park.
The 1st Armored Division Bands Brass Quintet, the Military Police Working Dog Teams (10:45 a.m.) and the 1AD the Armed and Unarmed Drill Teams Competition round out the mornings festivities. The The 30th Annual Fred Stafford Memorial Chili Cook-Off if always a fan favorite and starts at 11am. The public can taste chili from 11-3 and tasting is encouraged as the judges go around tasting as well.
The annual ‘Salute the Troops Car Show’ always features some really rare and custom cars from around the region. The show is great for car connoisseurs and is also a tribute to the military and their family. Overall this will be an exciting day to bring the family to Fort Bliss. For more information about Armed Forces Day, call the Fort Bliss Public Affairs, 568-4505.
Sierra Providence East Medical Center Repeats Excellence
Sierra Providence East Medical Center is proud to announce that it has received Tenet’s 2013 Circle of Excellence Award. Sierra Providence East is one of nine Tenet hospitals recognized for superior achievement in the areas of quality care, service excellence and operational performance.
This is the second year in a row the hospital has been recognized with the Circle of Excellence Award.
“The staff and physicians at Sierra Providence East Medical Center are being honored with a Circle of Excellence Award for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to their patients, community and hospital during 2012,” said Britt T. Reynolds, Tenet’s president of hospital operations. “I am proud to recognize them with this prestigious award as it recognizes Sierra Providence East Medical Center as a preferred hospital for patients to receive care, for physicians to practice medicine and for employees to work.” “Our focus has always been on quality and service. And moving in to 2013 we will continue to seek superior clinical outcomes and provide a great patient experience. We challenge one another everyday to set higher expectations and strive to deliver the best possible care to patients in our community”, said Sally Hurt-Deitch, CEO of Sierra Providence East Medical Center.
“I am honored to work with such a dedicated team. This award is a reflection of the commitment our team members have to the hospital, one another, our patients and our community.”
Sierra Providence East Medical Center (SPEMC) opened in May 2008 and is part of the Sierra Providence Health Network. The 110-bed acute hospital offers a range of specialties, from cardiac care and orthopedics, to Level III Neonatal Intensive Care, and emergency room needs. SPEMC has expanded its services to include Electrophysiology, a free standing outpatient Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, an outpatient Infusion Center, and a Maternal Fetal Medicine High Risk Clinic, Breast and Women’s Health Center and will introduce minimally invasive robotic surgery options with the da Vinci in the late summer.
The hospital is currently undergoing a $67 million patient tower expansion to be completed at the end of 2014. The primary focus of the expansion will be a new four-story tower with over 145,000 square feet in addition to a new emergency department that will increase the capacity from 21 beds to 31 beds. The Joint Commission recertified SPEMC as an accredited Primary Stroke Center in 2013 and Sierra Providence East was also recently designated as a Level IV Trauma Facility by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Chuco De Mayo Celebration
The Chuco Artist Network proudly presents: Chuco De Mayo! featuring Art, Music, Comedy, Poetry and Dance celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the Chuco Artist Network and Cinco De Mayo. Hosted by: The Wolf
Chucoartist.com promotes, develops and connects the best creative talent in el Chuco, Atzlan and the Southwest. Artists, Businesses, Organizations and People for Visual, Music, Written and Performing Arts make up the network of over 900 members and counting. Mobile Application also available.
Chuco De Mayo will feature Live Performances by: Chuco Soul Project, IMA, Christina Gurrola, Manifique, Lawrence Welsh, Siren St. Sin and more!
Artists Include: Ayer Eternal, Deadboy, Chris Torresdy, KAT, Carolina Rico (Henna Artist) and Andy Perez. Gallery featuring: Gabriel Marquez and Creed Yup
Workshops by: Orgonite by Mando, Crochet with Red Moss, and More…
Sponsored by: Eternal SEO and Bear Space Collective
Food and Drink Specials by:
501 Bar and Bistro
$5 Adults $3 Kids
2pm – 2am
@ San Carlos Building
501 Texas St. 79901
The Chuco Artist Project is privately funded. Any and all proceeds will be used to further benefit and enrich the lives of the Artists and to further help promote them.
Dia de los Ninos: Dia de los Libros: Diversity In Action
By Joe Olvera ©, 2013
Gianna Garcia already loves books, and she’s only two-years old. Of course, Gianna can’t read yet, but, she’ll hold one of her grandpa’s books and turn the pages as if she’s really reading. She’ll even mouth some words to herself and outloud, pretending that she’s reading to her grandfather. She’s already looking forward to “Dia,” as it’s become known. This year’s celebration that features literacy and cultural attainment will be Sunday, April 28 in Washington Park. Last year’s celebration attracted more than 25,000 visitors, and this year’s promises to be no different.
Renowned poet and author of children’s books, Pat Mora, an El Pasoan who has won numerous awards for her writing, is credited with beginning Dia in El Paso, a trend that spread throughout Texas and across the United States. She followed the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Ninos, and expanded it to include a day that would help her celebrate her love of books and to share it with America. The Mexican tradition evolved into what became the first “World Conference for the Well-Being of Children,” held in Geneva, Switzerland in August 1925. Several countries then passed the “Geneva Declaration Protecting Children.”
“As a mom I knew that children often ask, ‘Why do we have a Mother’s Day and a father’s Day, but not a Children’s Day?’ Mora said in her website, Bookjoy. “As a reader I wanted to foster bookjoy. Aha. I said, what if we link a celebration of children with literacy, an issue central to the well-being of children. That day, Latino faculty and staff at the University of Arizona enthusiastically supported the concept of annual Dia celebrations,” Mora said. Librarians and book lovers in schools across the country loved the idea. On April 30, 1997, the first annual Dia celebrations were held in cities including Tucson, El Paso, and Austin. Since then, Dia celebrations have increased like wild fire.
With the slogan that: Literacy strengthens democracy, the goals of this observance from its inception have a included a daily commitment to:
*honor children and childhood;
*promote literacy, the importance of linking all children to books, languages and cultures;
*honor home languages and cultures, and thus promoting bilingual and multilingual literacy in this multicultural nation and global understanding through reading,.
*involve parents as valued members of the literacy team’
So, if you’re a mom or a dad, or a grandmom and a granddad, come help us celebrate this day that’s so important for the development of children. The book fair at the park features games, face painting, treats, and, of course, free books – 3 used ones and 1 new. Who could say no to that?