Spanish or English: Cross-Cultural Community is the Language of the Fiesta Cookout
Denver—On August 25th Servicios de La Raza will host Mayor Michael Hancock as the featured speaker at its 4th annual Fiesta Cookout on 41st and Tejon street in Northwest Denver. This year’s entertainment features six bands and a 150+ custom car, low rider and motorcycle show. Based on estimates from previous years, more than 12,000 people are expected to attend.
John Gurule will be one of the many who show up.
Gurule, who grew up near Servicios and spent time there with his mother when he was little, is now the President of Denver Car Club. He says the Fiesta and Servicios are about giving back to the community. But according to Gurule that doesn’t just have to mean things like volunteering. He says you can get creative with your support.
“[Community] is all about people. I’m from the North side, but West side, East side, South side, it doesn’t matter. Ex-gang members from all sides of town—people who just love cars—we’re all represented in low rider culture.”
That’s why Gurule decided to help Servicios by sponsoring a car show that would help raise some greatly needed cash, but at the same time, educate people from across town about his neighborhood.
“When I was young my neighborhood was pretty tough. If you were out in your ride, the cops were probably going to stop you. That’s definitely changed. Now [DCC] does graffiti removal on Federal and the police roll by because they see the plaques in our back windows.”
Community, no matter where you come from, should be a positive thing, says Gurule.
“We support Servicios because they know community is about helping each other out. Hopefully everything goes good on Saturday and we make some money for Servicios.”
Michael Sawaya, a Denver attorney who sits on Servicos’ Board of Directors, understands where Gurule is coming from and agrees.
“John Gurule speaks the truth,” says Sawaya. “I’m an injury attorney. I’ve dealt with all kinds of cases, but I specialize in people who are hurt and get them just compensation.”
While he can help people find justice under the law, Sawaya says, working with people like Gurule and the staff at Servicios takes justice a step further.
“You’re only as good as the least among you. People can’t be forgotten. Servicios brings people together from across the community and cares for people with HIV/AIDS, the homeless, children, mothers; people who have nowhere to go. It’s appalling to see the need in our own neighborhoods.”
In addition to the entertainment, the Fiesta Cookout will serve more than 3,000 meals to needy families. While everyone is encouraged to attend, Sawaya stresses the importance of giving back in every way possible.
“I want people to understand what justice really means and how Servicios delivers justice to the community. People in Denver enjoy each other and I think we have one of the greatest communities in the world. The Servicios Fiesta isn’t just fun, it’s an opportunity to prove people like me and John right. That’s positive. To truly understand community, you can’t just sit idly by. So, tell everyone to come on down, volunteer, make donations.”
Any way you cut it, the message is clear: Together we make a difference. Even if you can’t make it to the party, you can still be a part of the community that Servicios fosters on Twitter @ServiciosdlRaza or Facebook.