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Building community

Building community

Building community
August 15
14:17 2019

Eva Reinoso Tejada

A few days ago, Amnesty International, a London-based institution focused on human rights, issued a travel advisory for the United States. In such statement, the institution was “calling for possible travelers and visitors to the United States to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence.” It went on to specify that people should avoid “places where large numbers of people gather, especially cultural events, places of worship, schools, and shopping malls,” and it labeled gun violence in America as a human right crisis.

This announcement happened exactly five days after our last Cine en el Parque function. Our event took place at Huston Lake Park in south Denver. We had a slight threat of rain but pushed through it, and it was rewarded abundantly. It was the most attended of our movie events in 2019. We gave away tons of prizes, our vendors gave away all kinds of stuff for the audience: little stuffed animals in the shape of a frog, bananas, candy, free popcorn, toys, t-shirts. The kids were dancing and jumping around with the clown, the adults were sitting on their blankets watching all the fun while they waited for the movie. Some had brought their picnic; some were eating the tacos and elotes from the food trucks and vendors we invited. The sky was blue, the grass was green, and the music was laud. This was the perfect scene of a community. Groups of friends and extended families gathered to spend some time together. A lot of selfies were taken.

Those who were there didn’t let the fear of recent shootings to prevent them from sharing a fun time with family and friends. Threats of ICE rides also didn’t affect them. We are living in complicated times where fear and terror is around the corner. But we always have the choice to live our lives and continue to thrive and do the things that make us happy.

As immigrants, and Hispanics, we cannot fall victim of the fear that some groups are trying to push on us. We must continue to thrive, to do the same things that we do every day: Work, take our kids to school, spend time with the family and live our lives in the best way possible. This is the time when we must be the best that we can be, when we must learn, grow, teach, and thrive. This is not a time to be complacent or get discouraged. And we must continue to unite and push for the changes that we want to see on our society.

I think the assessment by Amnesty International was an exaggeration, and I understand that it was done with the intention of elevating the conversation over gun control to a new height. I agree with that. That conversation needs to be elevated and brought to the front burner at every level of our society. But in the meantime, I will not “avoid cultural events, places of worship, schools, and shopping malls”, because those are part of my life. I will continue to live my life, and we, as organizers of Cine en el Parque and other community events, will continue to build community.


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