EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 15, 2014

Hispanic pride showed at carnival

LAWRENCE — The muggy and wet weather couldn’t keep people away from the Hispanic Week Carnival yesterday.

The Campagnone Common transformed into a cultural party with dancing and food. People could be seen walking around with flags of their native country. Many sipped on pina coladas while listening to bands perform.

“It brings everyone together,” Anderky Santos said. “It’s a celebration of our culture as Hispanics. It’s a family event.”

The carnival was part of a week-long celebration for Hispanic Week. It hosts cultural nights by immigrants from Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. They showcase the various cultures through art, music, folk dancing and traditional dishes.

The day also featured various organizations with their own booths to remind residents of what services are available to them.

One of those organizations featured was Northern Essex Community College (NECC).

“We want to support the community and this seemed like a perfect way to do it,” community engagement coordinator Analuz Garcia said. “This is one of the oldest events Lawrence has. It’s a tradition.”

Garcia spent much of the day educating residents about the various programs NECC offers.

“It’s really important for us to be active in the Lawrence community,” she said.

Santos is a NECC alum and helped spread it’s message while enjoying the festivities.

“I want to remind people that there is a college in Lawrence and a good one too. I am proud that I went there. People in Lawrence can get a good and affordable education if they want to,” she said.

Garcia said she believes the carnival is a source of pride for the city.

“It brings a sense of unity. You can just tell everyone is proud of their culture,” she said. “It’s not just celebrating Hispanics. Today is about celebrating everyone. We have such great diversity in Lawrence. That is a wonderful thing.”

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