Vancouver event to recognize contributions of Latin American community members

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Organizers with Latincouver are preparing to host the third annual Inspirational Latin Awards this week, in recognition of achievements by members of the Latin American community in Vancouver.

Paola Murillo, the executive director of Latincouver, said 25 people were nominated this year across six award categories.

“It’s definitely an inspiring evening to see new Canadians creating new things in their new home,” Murillo told the Straight by phone.

The ceremony will include a proclamation from the B.C. government recognizing Latin American Week in Vancouver.

“For us it’s huge—we feel that we’re getting this voice that we needed to have,” said Murillo. “We’re here, we are establishing ourselves.”

This year, an award will be given for community service in memory of Waldo Briño, who died last year.

“He was somebody very important in the community, so we want to have a special award for him,” said Murillo.

The awards ceremony will be held at Edgewater Casino on July 2, and will feature performers such as Venezuelan pianist Marianella Ramos and singer Fito Garcia.

The ceremony is one of several events organized by Latincouver as part of Latin America Week.

The “tastes of Latin America” event, which launched on June 28 and runs until July 6, features special tasting menus at various Latin American restaurants around the city. On July 5 and 6, the group brings music, art, dance, food, and street soccer to Granville Street for the Carnaval del Sol.

Murillo said this year’s event will feature 400 artists, three stages of performances, and food from almost every Latin American country.

“It’s a weekend where we all shine together,” Murillo stated.

“The Latinos, they know that that’s where they go and meet and feel…a little bit of Latin America in Vancouver.”

This year, Latincouver has also been offering a place for fans to watch World Cup games, dubbed Latin America House, at Edgewater Casino. Until July 13, people who are 19 or older can watch the games on a large screen.

“Why we do it is because we want to bring the community together and say we are here, Latin America’s here,” added Murillo. “It’s great to see that excitement.”

For more details on the awards ceremony and the Carnaval del Sol, visit carnavaldelsol.com.

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