Latino Cultural Center


José Cárdenas: THE PHOENIX OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE IS CONDUCTING A STUDY ON INTEREST IN A LATINO CULTURAL CENTER. THEY ARE ALSO ASKING FOR PUBLIC INPUT. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS MICHAEL NOWAKOWSKI, PHOENIX CITY COUNCILMAN FOR DISTRICT 7. WELCOME BACK TO "HORIZONTE." GOOD TO SEE YOU AND HAVE YOU ON THE SHOW. THIS TOPIC HAS BEEN DISCUSSED FOR SOME TIME. THE FUNDING WE ARE TALKING ABOUT, THE 1.4 MILLION COMES FROM A 2001 BOND ELECTION?

Michael Nowakowski: 2006 BOND ELECTION.

José Cárdenas: HOW IS IT GOING TO BE USED?

Michael Nowakowski: WE HAVE $1.4 MILLION THAT IS ALLOCATED FOR A STUDY ON A CULTURE CENTER. WHAT WE DID IS WE APPROVED A CONSULTANT FROM LA, HER NAME IS IVAN GALLARDO, AND SHE IS HAVING A COUPLE TOWN HALLS AND HAS AN ADVISORY GROUP WHERE MYSELF AND OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS HAVE RECOMMENDED INDIVIDUALS. SHE SPLIT UP INTO TWO DIFFERENT ADVISORY GROUPS. PRETTY INTERESTING. SHE HAS ARTISTS ON ONE AND BUSINESS PEOPLE ON THE OTHER. SHE IS SAYING THAT A LOT OF TIMES YOU HAVE ARTISTS THAT HAVE GREAT IDEAS BUT THERE IS NO KIND OF BUSINESS PLAN. SHE WANTS THIS TO BE LONG-LASTING SO WERE ACTUALLY DOING A FEASIBLE STUDY ALSO. WHAT’S INCREDIBLE IS WE HAD ONE TOWN HALL THAT WE TALKED ABOUT DANCE TO ART BUT ALSO LUCHA LIBRE, MEXICAN WRESTLING. WE HAD EIGHT PEOPLE COMING IN WITH MASKS AND SAID THIS IS A PART OF OUR CULTURE. WE WANT A RING AND SOMEWHERE TO PRACTICE AND A ROOM WHERE NOBODY CAN SEE OUR FACES BECAUSE THAT IS A PART OF IT. YOU HAVE TO WRESTLE THAT PERSON DOWN, TAKE THEIR MASK OFF AND ONCE YOU TAKE THEIR MASK OFF THEIR IDENTITY IS KNOWN AND THEY ARE NOT A WRESTLER AND THAT’S HOW YOU DEFEAT THAT PERSON.

José Cárdenas: I UNDERSTAND THE LAST TOWN HALL IS THE 22ND. THERE’S ALSO A WEBSITE PEOPLE CAN GO TO GATHER INFORMATION ABOUT IT. WHEN DO YOU EXPECT TO HAVE THE FEASIBILITY STUDY DOWN?

Michael Nowakowski: HOPEFULLY WE WILL HAVE IT WRAPPED UP BY THE END OF MAY. WHAT ARE LOOKING AT GETTING INPUT FROM EVERYONE. THE EXAMPLE I GAVE YOU OF LUCHA LIBRE AND WHO WOULD THINK THAT IS PART OF A LATINO CULTURE CENTER. WE HAVE LATINO CONSULATES HERE AND THEY SAY, MICHAEL, IT WOULD BE GREAT IF IT WASN'T JUST A CULTURAL CENTER BUT YOU BUILT UPWARDS HAD OFFICES FOR ALL THE CONSULATES. SO IF YOU WANTED TO VISIT THE MEXICAN CONSULATE, THE CONSULATE FROM EL SALVADOR, HONDURAS, AND OTHER LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES, WE COULD HAVE OFFICES THERE TO PROVIDE SERVICES AND AT THE SAME TIME PROVIDE ART FROM YOUR DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND I AM GOING WOW. HE CALLED IT A UNITED NATIONS OF LATINOS AND I SAID THAT IS INTERESTING. SO, BASICALLY HAVING THESE TOWN HALLS WE ARE BRINGING IN ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT IDEAS.

José Cárdenas: PEOPLE LISTENING TO US, MIGHT BE SAYING WE ALREADY HAVE A LATINO ARTS AND CULTURAL CENTER. WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT?

Michael Nowakowski: YOU KNOW, IT WAS REALLY A GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATION THAT STARTED WHEN I FIRST STARTED WHEN I FIRST STARTED AS THE CITY COUNCILMAN ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO. AN ARTIST CAME TOGETHER AND SAID WE NEED HAVE TO HAVE A CENTER. BASICALLY IT’S A LITTLE ART GALLERY, I’D CALL IT, MORE THAN A CULTURAL CENTER. I THINK BECAUSE OF BRINGING THE ARTIST TOGETHER AND HAVING THE BIGGER DREAM OF CREATING AN ART GALLERY AND A PERFORMING ARTS CENTER WHERE WE TALK ABOUT FOOD AND EVENTS AND EDUCATION.

José Cárdenas: WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT MUCH BIGGER THAN A LOT AND SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN ON PEOPLE’S MIND FOR SOME TIME.

Michael Nowakowski: IT IS INCREDIBLE TO SEE THE TALENT WE HAVE HERE IN ARIZONA AND ESPECIALLY PHOENIX. THE ARTISTS ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE. AS I TRAVEL TO CALIFORNIA, TEXAS, YOU START TO SEE OUR ARIZONA ARTISTS EVERYWHERE. SO THIS HAS BECOME MORE OF A MECCA FOR LATINO ART IN ARIZONA. HAVING A CENTER WHERE ALL THESE ARTISTS CAN COME TOGETHER AND SHARE THEIR MATERIAL. I HAVE SIX CHILDREN AND I REMEMBER BEING A CHILD WE USED TO GO TO MEXICO EVERY SUMMER FOR AT LEAST FIVE WEEKS TO MY GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE. I HAVEN'T DONE THAT WITH MY CHILDREN. THEY HAVE LOST THAT PORTION THAT CONNECTS THEM WITH AND WE KNOW LOOKING AT DIFFERENT STUDIES FOR THE LAST SEVEN YEARS THERE HAS BEEN ZERO POPULATION CROSSING AND ENTERING IN THE UNITED STATES AND INTO MEXICO. WHAT THAT MEANS IS MANY MEXICAN-AMERICANS GOING TO MEXICO AS AS MANY MEXICANS COMING INTO THE UNITED STATES. I THINK IT IT IS A WAY TO BRING A PIECE OF MY CULTURE, THE MEXICAN CULTURAL, MY MOM IS AN IMMIGRANT FROM MEXICO AND LETTING MY KIDS KNOW WHAT THEIR CULTURE IS, ROOTS ARE, TRADITIONS. DE LOS MORTAS HAS BECOME AN AMERICAN EVENT BUT IT IS REALLY A LATINO EVENT.

José Cárdenas: I WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU BEING WITH US TO ASK ABOUT A COUPLE THINGS. WE HAD ON THE SHOW, PETRA FALCON AND DONNA CHEUNG, TALKING ABOUT THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE REGARD TO IMMIGRATION. YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Michael Nowakowski: FIRST OF ALL, THE VICE MAYOR, LAURA PASTOR, WERE PART OF THIS AND AT OUR COMMITTEE. I THINK IT IS THE FIRST STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BUT IT IS A VERY SMALL STEP. I BELIEVE THE BIG PROBLEM WE HAVE WITH OUR POLICE OFFICERS IS THAT THEY HAVE TO OBEY THE LAW. SB 1070 IS THERE. AS LONG AS WE, THE CITY OF PHOENIX, ARE NOT GOING TO CHALLENGE THE ASPECTS THAT AFFECT THE CHARTER AND SB 1070 THAT ENGAGES OUR POLICE OFFICERS TO ACT LIKE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS WE WILL HAVE TO OBEY BY THE LAW. THE BIGGEST THING WE CAN DO AS AN INDIVIDUAL, I BELIEVE, IS WE NEED TO CHALLENGE THE STATE ON THE SB 1070 PORTION OF THE CITY. THE COMMITTEE ORGANIZATIONS AND THE LADY HERE TAKE THE BIG PIECES OUT BUT THERE HASN'T BEEN A CITY IN A STATE OF ARIZONA THAT CHALLENGED IT.

José Cárdenas: YOU SAY THERE IS POTENTIAL LITIGATION BETWEEN THE CITY OF PHOENIX AND ARIZONA?

Michael Nowakowski: I THINK I NEED FOUR MORE MEMBERS ON THE COUNCIL TO AGREE WITH ME AND WE CAN CHALLENGE IT.

Jose: WE WILL BE FOLLOWING THAT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE". THAT'S OUR SHOW FOR TONIGHT. THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. FROM ALL OF US HERE AT HORIZONTE AND YOUR ARIZONA P-B-S STATION. I'M JOSÉ CÁRDENAS HAVE A GOOD EVENING.

The city of Phoenix is looking for public input to develop a Latino Cultural Center.

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In this segment:

Michael Nowakowski: Phoenix City Councilman District 7

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