Colombians Celebrate 207 Years of Independence
By Alberto Suris
Not only are they celebrating 207 years of independence from Spain, but the beginning of a peace that begins with the end of more than 50 years of internal struggles with the FARC guerrillas that no one better than the President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, can explains in his letter that was read at the celebrations held in Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill this past week.
On Thursday, July 20th, at one o’clock in the afternoon, the Colombian flag was hoisted in front of Lowell City Hall in a colorful event attended by many members of the Colombian community in the area responding to Beatriz Sierra’s call. They meet every year in front of the staircase of Lowell Town Hall, mainly to hoist the Colombian flag, listen to local authorities and witness a short cultural show.
Mayor Edward J. Kennedy read a proclamation highlighting the many contributions the Colombian community has made to the city of Lowell in politics, education, business and social services as well as active participation in cultural activities.
The group of Colombian dancers Bajucol, as in previous years, filled the park in front of the town hall with color and music. Free raffles were also made among the attending public, of items donated by local merchants.
Three hours later, a group of Colombians, members of the Merrimack Valley Colombian Cultural Committee met in front of the Lawrence City Hall to celebrate Colombia’s independence and hoist the yellow, blue and red flag.
The event began with a welcome from Carmenza Bruff, member of the Colombian Cultural Committee, who invited the group gathered to listen to the notes of the American National Anthem, performed a cappella by Kelsea Ramirez. The Colombian National Anthem was sung by those in attendance, while raising the Colombian flag.
Mayor Daniel Rivera presented a proclamation to the Committee that was received by its members. Then, Consul Yida Ximena Mora Silva representing the Colombian Consulate in Boston read the letter that the President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, sent to all the consulates and embassies around the world, to be read to all Colombians during the celebrations of the 207 anniversary of the Independence of Colombia.
The following day, Friday, July 21, the Colombian Cultural Committee of the Merrimack Valley, at the invitation of the Mayor, James J. Fiorentini, moved to the city of Haverhill and met with members of that community and presented the “Sí Se Puede ” scholarship to Carlos Zermeño, graduate student of Haverhill High School.
According to Zermeño, he plans to begin his Criminal Justice studies at Northern Essex Community College in the next two years.
Usually, Haverhill flag raising events are held during office hours. Not this time. Since the event was carried out after office hours, it had to be held at the Mayor’s office where both the Mayor’s proclamation and the letter of President Juan Manuel Santos were read.
When speeches ended, the group enjoyed some typical Colombian empanadas brought by Carmenza Bruff.