Day three of our northeastern trek and it was off to Manchester, New Hampshire where thanks to our friends at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, we took some time to visit the Millyard Museum, an historical attraction in itself.
The Stark Mill, built in 1838 within the Amoskeag Millyard, was at one point the largest textile mill in the world.
Now housed within the mill in addition to the museum, is the See Science Center, which aside from the various scientific exhibits and displays on hand, also houses a unique sculpture. On record as the largest miniature sculpture in the world, there is an extremely detailed replica of the entire mill, and portions of the town,made entirely out of Legos, 3million bricks to be exact, which took about 10k hours to complete.
While we toured the Millyard, we met up with Alejandro Urrutia, president of Latinos Unidos, a local organization that produces an annual festival for Latinos in the area.
With a bit of serendipity, it turned out that Alejandro’s father who operated a textile mill in Mexico, was able to give us a firsthand explanation in Spanish about how the looms worked and fabrics were produced. As we continued through the museum, we spoke more about his organization, founded in 2000, by Hector Velez and Wanda Caraballo along with a group of other Latino leaders within the community, it was their dream to host a festival to call their own. Thirteen years later, they have produced a successful event where some 20k Latinos visit each year. Having raised over $200k in scholarships for local Latino students, and providing platforms for businesses, artisans, artists, and residents alike to congregate, conduct business, and build on the overall progression of Latinos as a whole within the state. Alejandro informed us that over the last few years, there has been a major decline in the amount of racial profiling and discrimination of Latinos in New Hampshire, so much so that they now have a Latino Police Commissioner and a State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, who is of Dominican descent.
Before this trip, I like many others I’m sure, when hearing anything about New Hampshire, did not think that there was such a well-represented portion of Latinos within the state. It’s initiatives like this really help you open your eyes to the national community that our gente represent. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience is that no matter where you travel within the good ol’ US of A, Latinos are definitely presente, and just as American as any other ethnicity that make up the stars and stripes of the red, white and blue. Tomorrow, day 4, it’s off to Maine and some sun on the beach! Ciao!