Virgin of Guadalupe Festivities Dedicated to Dreamers

(Image via Impacto Latino)

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As president and founder of Casa Puebla and as president of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Committee for the Archdiocese of New York, Jaime Lucero leads the coordination of the events surrounding the festivities for the Virgin of Guadalupe, “Patroness of Mexico and the Americas.”

Why is it so important to keep this religious tradition alive in New York?

There is a reality for Mexicans, and maybe the main reason that keeps us together, and that is the Virgin of Guadalupe. Ever since I could remember, the Virgin has attracted the respect of practically all Mexicans. Very few of us follow other religions. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the center that moves us, and she is our source of pride.

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Do you believe that the Virgin of Guadalupe could revive faith among Mexicans abroad to participate politically and create change?

The Virgin can inspire us to make that decision here in the United States, where our youths are being attacked. Of the 800,000 Dreamers who obtained DACA as students, 600,000 are of Mexican origin, so this is a direct attack on the Mexican community. In addition to everything that is being done, this year we will especially ask the Virgin to watch over our young people. One of the Dreamers will carry the Guadalupan Torch, and this special request is at the center of this year’s celebrations for the Virgin.

Will you be praying to the Virgin of Guadalupe to promote participation in the 2018 election?

We are hopeful that it will be so. This will be the third election in which Mexicans abroad will be able to participate. Unfortunately, the number of people who have voted is very small, and I sincerely believe that, in this 2018 election, Mexico’s future is at stake. That is why our new role is to raise that civic awareness – both among Mexicans there and those living here – since it took a lot of fighting to obtain [this right] and it is sad to see that such a small number of Mexicans abroad are exercising it and [many are] wasting the chance to make a change.

Any specific initiatives to carry this out?

There is a national political organization called Fuerza Migrante (Migrant Force) which we established two years ago. After the 2018 election, we will be able to establish a political party in Mexico for all Mexicans, including those of us who live abroad. Here in the U.S., there are 20 million potential voters of a total of 36 million. Twenty million Mexicans could cast a ballot to change Mexico’s reality. All they need is the credential issued by the National Electoral Institute, the agency regulating this type of activity.

What do people need to do in order to vote?

Herculean efforts are being made to get immigrants to participate, as, in theory, for every person who migrates to the U.S., there is a family of 10 or more people who remain back home. So, migrants here are affiliated with their whole family there, [and] they do not need to be legal here in the U.S. The only requirement to vote in the Mexican election is to be Mexican and to have the National Electoral Institute card, which they can obtain free of charge at the Mexican consulate. We are doing all we can so everyone can vote in 2018.

Final message?

Please join us in celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe. Everyone is invited: all Latin Americans and, of course, Mexicans. There will be a procession from 14th Street to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as well as the “Las mañanitas” serenade for the Virgin and two masses so everyone can attend.

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For details about the Guadalupe celebrations next week in the New York area, check here.

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