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Diversity of Heritage Celebrated in the Central Valley

PHOTO: Participants in the 2013 Tamejavi Culture and Art Series show the unique diversity of Central California. Photo credit: Eduardo Stanley.
PHOTO: Participants in the 2013 Tamejavi Culture and Art Series show the unique diversity of Central California. Photo credit: Eduardo Stanley.
April 5, 2013

MADERA, Calif. – The Central Valley is known for its diverse population, with strong connections to agriculture.

And to celebrate that heritage, the Tamejavi Cultural and Arts Series is now underway.

Music, food, art, poetry and theater are part of the project that also aims to bridge the divide of language and ethnicity.

Myrna Martinez Nateras is a program director for the American Friends Service Committee. She says when her group created the first events more than 10 years ago, it recognized the potential for breaking through the social and political isolation many cultures encounter.

"We realized that by sharing all these experiences and sharing their stories, their cultural values, is like a place where they are finding common ground," she says.

Nateras adds the series is also a salute to the wealth of arts and culture in the Central Valley.

On Sunday, the series features a theatrical performance of a traditional Zapoteco wedding called a Fandango.

Nateras says that cultural events such as these help to build community leadership from the ground up.

"So, our main goal,” she says, “is to promote that the immigrants have more political participation to balance the political forces here in this area."

The Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program coordinates the series of nine events. Hmong, Otomi and Angkor cultures have been among those featured this year.





Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - CA