by LUKE PUTVIN firstname.lastname@example.org
About 800 people attended the Afrolatino Festival on July 20 at Cedar Valley Elementary School. This is the festival’s third year in Lynnwood and its ninth year in existence. The festival had many things to do including dancing, listening to music, eating and buying handmade products.
Karina Gasperin, Executive Director of the Afrolatino Festival, started the festival in Seattle, but always intended for it to be in Lynnwood. Gasperin is from Mexico but has lived in Lynnwood for about 20 years. She says when she brought the idea to the City of Lynnwood nine years ago, the council would not give her a meeting. Three years ago, she presented the idea to Mayor Smith, who was all for it.
“This festival is to keep our heritage going,” Gasperin said. She says that she knows all of the vendors and that they have a close community. “The festival is also about the integration of music and community. Music is very important,” she said. “I hope people fall in love with the culture and see what we can do together as a community.”
It was the first year that the City Council had a booth at the festival, and throughout the day, Councilmembers Benjamin Goodwin, Christine Frizzell and Shirley Sutton were at the booth.
“It’s all about more community engagement,” Frizzell said. “We’re here to talk to people and hear concerns. A lot of times, we really only hear from people when something is wrong; we want to develop a relationship with people before something is wrong.”
The City Council will also have a booth at the Sandlot Cinemas and the Fair on 44th.
Another booth was from a volunteer-run radio station called Moviendo tu Mundo. Their goal is to bring education to the community, and they bring people like doctors and lawyers on air to talk about things like immigration, emotional issues, women’s empowerment and more. Their show can be found on mradiolive.com.
AHF, a sponsor of the event, had a booth as well. “We’re trying to reduce the stigma around AIDS and provide information to people,” Mauricio Carranza said. The booth also offered a free blood test to see if someone has the HIV virus in their system. The test only required a small prick on the finger and only took a couple minutes.
The event’s other sponsor, Community Health Plan, also had a booth at the event. As a non-profit organization, their main reason for being at the event was to educate the community about health care, Medicare and Medicaid.
For more information about the Afrolatino Festival, visit AfrolatinoFestival.org.