Nuestra Comunidad: Friends create movement to promote diversity

What happens when five friends – all Latino immigrants who share a common concern about their community’s integration – decide to launch an initiative whose sole mission is to create an environment of inclusion and acceptance for Hispanics from all over the world?

You get ‘La Choloteca: Ley del Latinx,’ an ongoing event dedicated to celebrating all things Latino. Or, as its founders call it: a social movement that comes to life in party form, a place where Hispanics can feel recognized and accepted.

As well, it represents an effort to educate about and promote the term ‘Latinx,’ with the ultimate goal of replacing the words ‘Latino or Latina.’ An increasingly popular term utilized by the general public, ‘Latinx’ seeks to move beyond gender binaries and provide better inclusion for the LGBTQ community.

Upwards of 300 people attend monthly gatherings put on by La Choloteca in Atlanta.

“La Choloteca is a party with a mission. And that mission is to teach people the word ‘Latinx,’ a new word that we hope replaces the others. It’s about providing a safe, inclusive and accessible space to celebrate the Latino community. This dance party is proof of our beautiful culture and revolutionary community,” explained Josephine Figueroa, a Peruvian photographer who is also part of the initiative’s communications team.

Mónica Campana, Luis Sandoval, Kenneth Figueroa and Randall Ruiz all round out the project’s founding team. What began as a simple party between friends has, since June, evolved to the cultural movement it is today.

“We want to promote our culture. We come from a hard-working people. We are a people without legs, but who walk. And even though they want to put us down, even though they want to tell us we can’t be here, we will keep on going,” said Campana.

Figueroa, for her part, emphasized the importance of “helping each other as a community.” “We have the power to survive anything, and we are going to survive this president, and we’re going to do it by dancing and celebrating with our family and community.”