A new Naperville-area Latino-based nonprofit organization, Alliance of Latinos Motivating Action in the Suburbs, or “ALMAS”, held its first-ever event on Sunday at the DuPage River Park.
“We essentially are coming together today to just celebrate ourselves. To introduce ourselves to the community and to tell everybody that we’re here and that we want their involvement and we’re inviting people to join our organization,” said Dr. Lili Burciaga, president of ALMAS.
Activities at the event
ALMAS is the Spanish word for souls, and the kickoff event was filled with a mix of food, music, and performances meant to lift spirits and fill those visiting with a dose of Latino culture.
“We had a performance by Nicaraguan singer and composer Sandra the Latin soul, and she donated her time, her talent to come here, support us, and to show us her music. Additionally, we had our ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl, which is a folkloric show from Aurora, Illinois,” said Burciaga.
What is “ALMAS”
The organization has been years in the making. The idea first started when Dr. Burciaga joined a Facebook group for bilingual families in Naperville, but found it was hard to create a community online, sparking a similar goal among her colleagues.
“We want to empower Latinos in the surrounding areas, not only current Latino leaders, but our youth as well, who we know wants to stay connected to their roots, to learn about their roots and really preserve their culture. And so we want to be part of who helps them do that,” said Burciaga.
However, Dr. Burciaga says that ALMAS isn’t just for Latinos. The group encourages people of other cultures to come out to future gatherings to learn more about the Latino culture.
With more events already planned, the group is excited about what’s to come.
“We are passionate. We’re passionate about ALMAS, about being here, about our own cultures. ALMAS essentially grew out of love for our community, love for our cultures, and even love for ourselves. That’s really what ALMAS came from, it’s our birth. And we hope that people are able to see that our love is genuine,” said Burciaga.
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