Friday marks Mexican Independence Day. It celebrates the cry of independence from Spain on September 16, 1810.
It reminds many of the spirit of freedom that helps maintain a connection between Hispanics here in the Coachella Valley and their places of origin.
Several Latino-owned businesses can be found throughout the valley. One of them includes Seiden-Juku in La Quinta, a martial arts program for those with special needs.
“I started when I was three years old [years old] my father was my Sensei,” said owner Sensei Tamara Canedo-Lifschutz. Karate has always been a big part of her life. Both her parents are from Mexico. And although she was born and raised in the Coachella Valley, she is proud of her heritage.
“For me, being able to get my name out there, get my culture out there, my business out there, it’s just such a good opportunity for young people to be proud of their culture.” As a Latina business owner, she is able to pass that knowledge on through what she loves to do.
“It’s been really great because a lot of my family only speaks Spanish, so being able to communicate and share the culture with them has been a complete blessing for us,” explained Canedo-Lifschutz.
Every day, she teaches karate to students of all different forms. Through her journey as a Sensei, she has also created a non-profit organization. She has found ways to bring her experiences back to Mexico. “The first thing I wanted to do was partner with an orphanage that’s based out of Mexico, and so for about a year we taught at an orphanage in Mexico with only individuals with special needs, and it was incredible.”
In Indio, Myrna Mendiola also shares a passion for working with children.
“Being able to provide that safe place that home away from home, you know about them and you just reassure them that you know it’s going to be okay,” Mendiola said.
As the owner of Little Fox Play Den childcare, she said the business started becoming a mother herself. Mendiola said growing up Latina taught her to value work ethic. “We are very united. We are very let’s encourage each other. We got each other, that’s all we have is each other. Yes. So it’s teaching kids to take care of everybody, you know, not just themselves.”
Mendiola’s parents were born in Mexico. She tells me that seeing the struggles they went through makes her appreciate her culture even more. “Our parents, knowing how they fought. And our generation, trying to be better so that the next generation can be better. You know, it’s, it’s knowing where we came from to get better.”
Working in childcare, she is not only able to teach children the basics, but also pass on her legacy. “Put something into perspective for them from what symbolizes us, you know, and a flag,” she explained, “So it was a great teaching skill, color skill and the magic of our heritage. So it was that it was very much in one and they loved it.”
On Saturday, September 17, the Annual Festival “Fiestas Patrias” will take place in Coachella.
The event will be held from 3pm to 10pm at Coachella’s Rancho Las Flores Park and is free to the public.
Attendees will enjoy live music performances, the traditional Fiestas Patrias ceremony, a variety of cultural food booths, an outdoor beer garden, informative exhibits and children’s games. This event is an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture and reach a mass audience in a grassroots-style one-day event.
Our sister stations, Telemundo 15 and La Poderosa, are sponsoring the event.