Friday is Mexican Independence Day. It celebrates the call for independence from Spain on September 16, 1810.
It is a reminder of much of the spirit of freedom that helps maintain the connection between Hispanics in the Coachella Valley and their homeland.
Several Latino-owned businesses can be found throughout the valley. One of them includes La Quinta’s Seiden-Juku, a martial arts program for people with special needs.
“I started when I was three years old [years old] my father was my teacher,” says owner Sensei Tamara Canedo-Lifschutz. Karate has always been a big part of her life. Both her parents are from Mexico. Although she was born and raised in the Coachella Valley, she taught her legacy.
“For me, being able to get my name out there, my culture out there, and my business out there is a great opportunity for young people to be proud of their culture.” Being Latino A business owner, she was able to pass on that knowledge through what she loves to do.
Canedo-Lifschutz explained: “It’s really great because a lot of my family only speaks Spanish, so being able to communicate and share culture with them has been a complete blessing for us.”
Every day, she teaches karate to students of different backgrounds. Through her journey as a teacher, she also created a non-profit organization. She found a way to bring her experience back to Mexico. “The first thing I wanted to do was work with an orphanage in Mexico, so for about a year we were teaching in an orphanage in Mexico where there were only people with special needs, which was incredible.”
In Indio, Myrna Mendiola is also passionate about working with children.
“Being able to provide them with a safe home away from home, you know, just reassures them that you know it’s going to be alright,” Mendiola said.
As the owner of Little Fox Play Den Nursery, she said the business started as a mother. Mendiola said Latina’s upbringing taught her how to value work ethic. “We’re very united. We’re very encouraging of each other. We get each other and that’s all we have. Yeah. So it’s about teaching kids to take care of everyone, you know, not just themselves.”
Mendiola’s parents were born in Mexico. She told me that observing the struggles they went through made her appreciate her culture even more. “Our parents, know how they struggle. And our generation, trying to be better so that other generations can be better too. You know, it is, knowing where we come from to be better.”
Working in a nursery, she is able to not only teach children the basics, but also carry on her heritage. “Let them know what symbolizes us, you know, and a flag,” she explained, “so it’s a great teaching technique, color technique and our traditional mantra. So it’s it’s it is a lot and they love it.
On Saturday, September 17th, the annual “Fiestas Patrias” will be held at Coachella.
The event will be held at Coachella’s Rancho Las Flores Park from 3-10pm and is free to the public.
Attendees will enjoy live music performances, traditional Fiesas Patrias ceremonies, various cultural food stalls, open beer gardens, informative exhibits and children’s games. The event is an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture and attract a large audience with a grassroots-style one-day event.
Our sister stations Telemundo 15 and La Poderosa are sponsoring the event.