The United Mexican Federation of Utah gathered at the Salt Lake County building, Feb. 20, to share its experiences and success stories with prospective members and partners.
The Federation is made up of clubs of Mexican immigrants who reside in Utah and who organize to create business and social projects in their communities of origin. It currently has more than 20 active clubs and many collaborating agencies and institutions, among them the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake and Proyecto Paisano, said Salvador Lazalde, the Federation’s president, to La Voz del Centro.
Representatives of some of the Federation’s partners were present in the meeting including Antonella Packard, director of LULAC’s chapter in Utah; Keith Atkinson, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public affairs officer; and Gonzalo Palza, Centro de la Familia de Utah’s CEO.
“(The Federation) has created an organic movement that no one can stop,” said Palza and congratulated the clubs for their persistence.
Centro played a crucial role in the foundation and sustainability of the Federation. The first club members attended entrepreneurship classes taught by Palza for 15 weeks.
“You suffered doing homework… but then we you graduated with a huge party,” he said.
The clubs and their communities in Mexico continue to reap the fruits of that sacrifice. The Ausentes de Villa Club from the Villa Corona town of Jalisco is among the most prolific.
“We want to represent our country’s culture. We don’t stop… our hearts keep us moving forward,” said Juan Arechiga, the club’s president.
Some of the Ausente de Villa Club’s projects include the reconstruction of a nursing home for 24 elderly people and the restoration of the seventeenth century paintings in the town’s cathedral.
Rolando Sanchez Sanz, mayor of Valle de Zaragoza, Mexico, also attended the meeting with the intention to learn the Federation’s model and replicate it with Valle de Zaragoza’s sister city in New Mexico.
“The government’s power is in the hands of the nation’s citizens,” said Sanchez Sanz and incited the congregation to contact the Mexican government leaders and demand their support, “So they do what they’re supposed to and not what is convenient for them.”
The Federation received praises from Atkinson, who encouraged its members to find inspiration in the social and political changes happening in this country, where for the first time in history an African American president presented the State of the Union Address and a Latino senator delivered the response.
“We all have the power to design our own destiny and the destiny of our neighbor in another country… I’m glad we have leaders represented here tonight, people of good faith who are working together to increase everyone’s quality of life,” said Atkinson.
For more pictures visit our Facebook page.