OTTUMWA — Even though LULAC of Ottumwa (LULAC 377) has only been around for a year, they’re looking forward to this weekend’s VIVA Ottumwa.
Vice President Sandra Trejo and LULAC member Patty Galvan Ramos expressed their excitement for Saturday’s festival, partnering with JBS, the YMCA and other organizations as well.
“We put a lot of effort into making it great and really fun and inclusive for the communities in the surrounding areas,” Trejo said. “We will celebrate that we are all one community not separating us and enjoying everything together as a community.”
“For us, it’s a way of celebrating diversity here in Ottumwa,” Ramos said.
Trejo is not only excited for celebrating Latin American heritage, but also for the different organizations and cultures participating at the festival.
“We’re gonna have participation from the Burmese community,” Trejo said. “Different ethnicities from JBS will set up booths, vendors and we’re going to have the local kids that have a band participating and vendors from around the area.”
Ramos is not only looking forward to the entertainment, celebrating her heritage and different cultures, she is looking forward to what this event will mean for LULAC.
“The best thing about the event is that all proceeds are going to go to student scholarships,” Ramos said.
Trejo agreed. “Starting LULAC here this opportunity was perfect because we want to assist the community and the youth or whoever takes advantage of this scholarship,” she said.
While scholarships will remain at the forefront of their goals, Ramos said LULAC wants scholarships to be available to everyone.
“We want to look at their character,” she said. “We’re looking at how they’re helping the community, how good of a student they are and if they are involved in anything. We want to account their strengths first versus just ‘we’re limiting you because of this.”
For Ramos, Saturday’s festival adds to the list of many goals LULAC 377 has for the community. One goal is to work on civic engagement and encourage residents to vote.
“For local elections and community elections, I think that’s where our voices need to be heard,” Ramos said. “Another goal is promoting education and working with our youth, developing leaders and offering them different opportunities.”