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‘A minority amongst minorities’: Utah’s tiny Paraguayan group internet hosting independence festivities

‘A minority amongst minorities’: Utah’s tiny Paraguayan group internet hosting independence festivities


OREM — As Latin American international locations go, small landlocked Paraguay does not all the time register high on the radar display of Individuals.

“We’re a really small nation in South America, so many individuals do not learn about us,” stated Viviana Figueredo, initially from Asunción, the Paraguayan capital, and now dwelling in American Fork.

A small contingent from the nation now calls Utah dwelling, although, and in a bid to bolster the group’s profile, Paraguayans in Utah — made up of expatriates from the nation — is holding a public pageant Saturday to mark the nation’s independence from Spain. The occasion, open to the general public, goes from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and might be held at Metropolis Middle Park at Middle Avenue and 300 East in Orem.

“We’re attempting to get individuals to know extra about us and what we’re doing,” stated Figueredo, a pacesetter within the group.

Two different occasions are additionally deliberate alongside the Wasatch Entrance to spotlight the various cultures within the space:

  • Town of Ogden is internet hosting a Dwelling Heritage Competition on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday from noon-8 p.m. at Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave. The intention is to “promote public consciousness, understanding and appreciation for the various cultural heritage of northern Utah” by way of dance, meals, artwork, music and distributors, reads the Fb announcement of the occasion.
  • Historic Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church of Salt Lake Metropolis is internet hosting an occasion to gather artifacts, paperwork and private remembrances consultant of the historical past of Utah’s Black group. It goes from noon-4 p.m. and might be held on the church, 239 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

‘A minority amongst minorities’

Although the Paraguayan group is small, it was the main target of a proposed measure within the 2024 legislative session earlier this 12 months, HJR20, to honor these from the nation now dwelling in Utah. The decision handed within the Utah Home 71-0 however stalled because the session got here to an finish.

“Paraguayan pioneers who’ve chosen Utah as dwelling could also be a minority amongst minorities,” Nicole Laudie Rolón stated at a committee listening to on the measure in February. “However they unquestionably play, for my part, a novel and indispensable half in preserving and increasing the range and good in our state.”

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A dancer performing a conventional Paraguayan dance takes half within the 2023 Independence Day celebration for Paraguay, held in South Jordan and arranged by Paraguayans in Utah, a gaggle of expatriates from the nation. (Picture: Viviana Figueredo)

Laudie Rolón is co-founder of Paraguayans in Utah and the mom of two Paraguayan American kids.

Sebastian Benitez, of Ogden, who moved to Utah from Paraguay in 2000, additionally addressed HJR20 in the course of the committee listening to, noting his group involvement in Ogden. He has lobbied for sidewalk enhancements and ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Ogden in 2015.

“I’m preventing for my group in Ogden,” he stated. “I’m grateful to be right here in the USA. I’m grateful to be American, and we’re right here to serve this nation.”

Benitez estimates round 1,000 individuals of Paraguayan descent now stay in Utah, up from 37 when he moved to the state. U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2022 put the quantity at 512, among the many smallest contingents within the state of all Latin American international locations.

Paraguay gained independence from Spain over a two-day interval, Could 14-15, 1811, and people within the nation maintain celebrations over the 2 days. On show on the Orem occasion on Saturday might be conventional music and dancing, together with the bottle dance, which options dancers balancing a bottle on their heads. Conventional Paraguayan meals may also be provided — asaditos, much like kebabs, and yuca (cassava). It have to be ordered on-line forward of time by Friday, in accordance with Figueredo.

‘Guaranteeing that our voices and tales are heard’

Saturday’s occasion to gather objects and remembrances associated to Utah’s Black historical past is a follow-up to the same effort held final March at Hill Air Power Base. The Sema Hadithi African American Heritage and Tradition Basis of West Valley Metropolis, the Utah Historic Society and the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce, amongst different teams, are additionally concerned.

“It is a distinctive alternative so that you can share your tales and contribute to a legacy that may enlighten future generations. Your participation is essential in guaranteeing that our voices and tales are heard and remembered,” Daryell Jackson, pastor of the Holy Trinity church in Salt Lake, stated in asserting the trouble.

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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