BOSTON- Usually, September celebrations of the five Central American countries’ independence from Spain in 1821 have been local affairs, with each country doing its own thing. But in Boston this year, something different happened: a new group called the Alianza Civica Cultural Centroamericana brought together a big crowd of Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Honduran, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan immigrants to celebrate Independence Day together.
City Hall Plaza echoed to the sounds of a marching Banda de Paz (not de Guerra). All five national anthems were sung, as the flag of each country was raised. Each country offered public recognition to important people. For Nicaragua, it included Rodney Barker, co-founder of the Newton/San Juan del Sur Sister City Project, and Margaret Morganroth Gullette, co-founder of San Juan’s 10-year-old Free High School for Adults. Then the great Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy sang some of his greatest Nica hits.
But most moving was a procession of younger immigrants who are currently students in several of Boston’s world-class universities. Nicaragua was well represented in this group of what we now call “Dreamers”—young people committed to their own version of the American Dream, regardless of their immigration status.
So if Central Americans in Boston can imagine the five countries functioning as a single unified family, the obvious question is, Why can’t this spirit take hold back home in Central America? Isn’t it time for a real Central American Union?
If you’d like to see my photos of the September 19 festivities, go here.
David Gullette is VP of the Newton/San Juan del Sur Sister City Project (www.newtonsanjuan.org). His novel, Dreaming Nicaragua, is available at www.fenwaypress.com.