Carlos Fuentes said, “The United States has written the white history of the United States. It now needs to write the Black, Latino, Indian, Asian and Caribbean history of the United States.”
On September 18 the community celebrated Grand Rapids’ first Latino-focused archive titled “Portrait of My Community.” Joined by esteemed guests Mayor George Heartwell, Dr. Paul Kutsche, GVSU’s Dean Anne Hiskes, and historians Tim Gleisner and Gordon Olson, GAAH’s Cook Library Scholars unveiled a series of historical accounts about Grandville Avenue. They were collected by students who are growing up there in partnership with Grand Valley State University’s Kutsche Office of Local History.
The documents include interviews, photos, and videos of conversations between the Scholars and local business owners, inspirational leaders, and other key figures in the community. The students asked such questions “What inspired you?” and “What advice do you have for me?” These interviews were carefully documented, ensuring that this significant history remains accessible for everyone in the community.
The celebration itself, which took place at the Cook Library Center, included an address by Mayor Heartwell as well as inspiring presentations from Cook Library Scholars Alejandro, Itza, and Angel. After the program, the crowd of family, friends, and community members viewed the display and enjoyed some Hispanic food.
Reyna Garcia and a student with Tim Gleisner, Gordon Olson, and Dr. Paul Kutsche
GVSU’s Dean Anne Hiskes addressing the scholars
Cook Library Scholar Itza speaking to the audience
An spectator photographing some of the historical pieces that were produced