In the old days of me serving as Youth Director for Churches, I would venture out to Flint, Adrian and Jackson to “see what they do” in their programs. So it should be no surprise that I made the trip to Saginaw to “see what they do” at their Latino Night with the Loons Friday night, July 23, 2015. My daughter and I went a touch late and upon parking my car, we get out only to hear someone announcing from the stadium in Spanish! What a concept! Then the next thing I know there is Tejano music playing which means that in between the innings, we could hear our music without having to wait til after the game. As I usually do, I never make myself known (really who am I to them?) when I enter a community. I like to watch to see how they interact with each other. What I witnessed was something that I find rare in a community. I see in it Churches, but not usually in non-profits or organizations. This group in blue were the folks from the Great Lakes Bay Leadership Institute (GLBLI), were moving around the crowd, talking with people, and listening to folks. Most groups tend to put out their message and walk away. Or maybe they celebrate among themselves. That’s it. No this game was not a business meeting but it was a chance for the GLBLI to get to know their community a little better and from all appearances, they did. But this gets better. The GLBLI took care of my daughter for me and showed her around while they took the time to introduce me to several community leaders and sponsors. I was amazed. As different folks took the time to introduce me around, I couldn’t help but realize these people get it. This is not about the game, its about the people. This group had nothing to gain by the introductions and contacts they gave me. But they also realize that we can make each other stronger by sharing ideas and perhaps resources. That right there is one of the major problems with Latinos. We may be known for our hospitality and family first lifestyle, but as organizations go, we do not like to share resources with other Latino organizations for we fear that monies or talent might be taken from us. After the fireworks and Salsa dance which was provided byDj’ed by Frank Medel with a special appearance by Yvonne Ramos-Ybarra I took my time driving home and thought back to what I had seen. Again, my daughter and I arrived too late for the pregame stuff, but it was a night to remember. There must have been a couple hundred people as the Salsa dance dancing, watching and enjoying the last part of Latino Night. How many times has politics and the need for people to want to take credit for this or that, or walk away from helping a project because they didn’t like someone who was a part of the group. I watched a group of excited individuals take the role of leadership but in a very humble way. They did it by serving others, listening to the community, connecting with the community. The group sold 441 tickets this year which was one more then the 440 they sold last year. But more importantly, they showed a community that what matters most was the people. These folks who took on a leadership role and handling it with class and a family feel, deserve much love and respect for each of them. But what they gave a community, the chance to celebrate their heritage, their community a chance to see old friends not to mention the sense of pride most probably felt, was priceless. And from me, thank you Saginaw for making me feel like one of you. Gente is Gente, no matter where you are from. I can’t wait to see what your community does the rest of 2015 and into 2016. Much love and respect to all of you!