The Latino Community Coalition is seeking nominations from the Latinx community for a Latina woman after whom it will name an alleyway downtown as part of the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. alleyway activation initiative.
The coalition is naming its part of the project HERencia.
“This project is meant to create a permanent physical representation of our community in public places. We hope to activate and name an alleyway in downtown Grand Rapids after a woman from the Latinx community. We will honor our rich history and the women to whom many families owe their legacies here in Grand Rapids,” the coalition said.
“Instead of relying on accomplishments, awards and other merits, as we are so often pressured to do by our host culture, we hope to celebrate women who were the first in their family to set roots in Grand Rapids. … We hope to elevate the stability they brought to their home, how they anchored the family for generations to come, and all the milestones and accomplishments for those generations we can now celebrate.”
The coalition is seeking nominations to name the alley after a Latina who lived in Grand Rapids but is now deceased, and who had “a strong influence among her family and neighbors by sharing her values, culture and traditions.”
“Her story is our story, and it will be archived at the Cook Library Center for future generations to always remember her. This alley will honor her life and legacy,” the coalition said.
People who would like to nominate a Latina from their family, neighborhood or community can do so online in English or Spanish at the Latino Community Coalition’s website. Nominations also can be submitted by visiting the following partnering agencies, who can assist with filling out paper applications:
The Other Way Ministries, Cecibel Tejada, 710 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Evelyn Esparza, 1204 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Latina Network of West Michigan, Vanessa Jimenez, firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 234-8577
La Casa de la Cobija, Angelica Velazquez, 2355 Division Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, Angela Cluley, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids
Isabel Media Studios, Isabel Lopez, 818 Butterworth St. SW, Suite 10, Grand Rapids
Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, Vanessa Cervantes, 644 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
The deadline to submit applications is July 31, after which, the Latino Community Coalition will choose finalists and gather further information from each family before making a final decision.
The LCC is partnering with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. on this project, as well as the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, which is located next to the alley.
“Grand Rapids Community Foundation is proud to partner with the Latino Community Coalition to honor the legacy of local Latina women who have helped shape our community,” said Diana Sieger, president of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.