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Suburban Chicago Celebrates Mexican Heritage


Despite the amplifying xenophobic sentiment at a national level, one small town did not let that deter them from turning the streets of downtown West Chicago into a pueblo from south of the border.

The Mexican Independence Day festival kicked off its two day run on Saturday, September 16th. This event, which had an estimated 3,000 attendees, was a chance for residents across DuPage County to celebrate Mexican culture.

The festival included live dance, vendors, and performances by the children’s band from the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, as well as Mariachi Michoacan, a traveling Mariachi band comprised of musicians from around the country. “Pantunflina,” a 13 foot tall piñata, even made an appearance at the event.

Numerous groups, small businesses, and organizations were present at the event. OMEL, an organization helping to preserve hispanic cultures, worked with the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage and Viva Mexico to beat the world record for most cups in a cup mosaic, which involved utilizing 11,718 cups to form a picture of a train, symbolic for West Chicago’s history as a railroad town.

This celebration of diversity is nothing new for the citizens of West Chicago. Just last month, the citizens of West Chicago showed up to protest the potential removal of a pro LGBT children’s book from their public library, which garnered in support from across the nation.

These displays of acceptance are gaining a greater importance in American culture. As pushes are being made on the national level to limit the freedoms of minorities, such as the removal of DACA or the push by President Trump for continued Muslim travel bans, the necessity for a celebration of diverse culture is apparent.

As the celebration wraps up, members of the West Chicago community will be left with a weekend to remember; a weekend that payed honor to a culture and heritage that, while marginalized, is nonetheless strong, vibrant, and most importantly, accepting.


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