I so apologize for being out of the loop on many things. I usually take about 6-8 weeks off at the end of the year for family and spend the early part of January planning out the year. I have been one that likes to try different things as you sometimes just have to try something and see if it works and how will the community respond, and then make adjustments.
I think back to bringing “Selena” on Saturday, March 31, 2018 and when the demand for tickets was great, Celebration Theater gave us the Friday and Sunday around the Saturday. We then were widely criticized for putting it on Good Friday and Easter. Before that though, people had said no one would pay to see Selena as most owned the DVD, had seen it 20 times and can still see it on cable. My idea was that people would go for the experience. I was redeemed as we sold out every ticket.
Months later, we partnered with Celebration again for the Latino Film Festival. Despite titles like Selena, Stand and Deliver, La Bamba, Zoot Suit and Instructions Not Included, attendance was extremely poor to say the least. Cafecito will take the hit, but what this does is make Celebration think there isn’t a market there from the Latino community therefore they will set the programming as opposed to community members helping to decide what is shown on their screens. As I stated above, I like taking chances, but calculated chances and ones that will survive and not be a one time thing. We have had talks about starting a Spanish Class, an Insurance and Finance Class, a Social Media Class, and I have hesitated as I have to make sure they can stand the test of time. For a Latino community that once had a Community Center that we could proudly call our own, we now lack one as the ones in Flint, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Grand Rapids continue to thrive. We sometimes it appears, seem to have nothing. Casa de Rosado has been a jewel and several of the Latino non-profits continue to do their thing, but everything can be hard to find if your looking for resources. With the exception of Saginaw, those community centers are led by folks under the age of 35. Goes to show that the older generation is willing to allow a younger generation to lead.
I was once asked years ago, why do I focus on the Latino Community only? Well, I do what I know best and really, have never cared what color anyone is. We are all in this together. Hopefully, you will see one of the projects that we will propose to another organization whom I have long admired come to fruition in 2019. In our efforts “to give back”, we intend to help build what should be a great source of funding for some folks I met years ago who are not from the Latino community. My love for their leadership and non-profit is immense. Over the years I had offered the baseball game and 5K to other non-profits offering to do all the work and at the end of the day, we would hand them 100% in the form of a check. We were always turned down. So, we kept the ideas and put them into place. We finally have decided to share them again. I won’t claim to know it all, but its not 2002 or 1972 anymore. Times have changed and the way you reach and help people has too. If your still in love with ABC, NBC and CBS, well, you have no clue what I just wrote.
If you have read this far, thank you, as you have no idea what that means to me. I hope to see many of you at both of our 5K Runs, Latino Day with the Lugnuts, and supporting a couple other projects we will announce later this year. One project that is just getting traction is our Greater Lansing Latino Leadership Institute which tentatively begins in February 2020. Please take the time and check our website as I have updated a few things. Hope you enjoy the hundreds of photos from the community along with the Latino owned businesses in our business directory. Did you know we have almost 170 Latino owned businesses in the area?