Returning for the second year, a special event this weekend will celebrate the journey and cultural heritage of immigrants and refugees who have made their home in the San Antonio area. Hosted by the City of San Antonio and local nonprofit Culturingua, the Welcome Walk & Festival takes place at the Rosemont at Denman Estate Park from 10 am to 2pm on Saturday, November 12.
On its website, Culturingua shares its mission to "cultivate, promote, and preserve Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian (MENASA) cultural, linguistic, and artistic heritage to invest in human, community, and economic development." Since 2018, the group's innovative programming has focused on building bridges to foster human development and civic engagement in order to serve the Bexar County community.
According to the Welcome Walk & Festival event page, over 250 members participated in the 2021 event. The celebration was such a success that city leaders encouraged Culturingua to make it an annual occurrence.
"As the need for refugee resettlement has grown, San Antonio has taken the lead to become a welcoming ground, and ultimately home, for many refugees and immigrants seeking a new life in the U.S," the event description reads. "San Antonio Welcome Walk & Festival is an event that was created to embrace these new faces in the community."
Saturday's celebration will kick off with a one-mile walk with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, symbolizing the journey of immigrants and refugees to the United States. Nirenberg will also deliver remarks during the event, along with other local leaders.
“For more than 300 years, San Antonio has been a city of immigrants and refugees,” says Nirenberg in a release. “When we talk about San Antonio to the world, they know it is through our diversity that we find strength, and through the embrace of our diversity that we find unity.”
Nirenberg added, “I cannot think of a better to express who we are as a community, here in San Antonio, than to start with a welcome walk in which everyone is welcome to join us.”
The free, family-friendly event will feature food vendors, children's activities, an immigrant-owned small business market, and more, including:
- The launch of Nourish to Flourish Mobile Commercial Kitchen, a culinary training facility that empowers immigrants and refugees with guidance, skills, and mentorship when entering or expanding into the culinary industry.
- The kickoff of San Antonio for Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of entrepreneurs in every country and community around the world.
- The San Antonio launch of Kiva, an internationally renowned, global microlending platform that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs with zero-percent interest character-based loans. Three locally- and immigrant-owned restaurant owners will present their Kiva loan request to the community.
For more information and to register (for free) in advance, visit the event’s website.