May 16, 2022

durangobagel

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Paseo Por El Westside highlights west-side San Antonio’s culture

3 min read


You can learn all about the history of west side, one of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods, this Saturday.

SAN ANTONIO — The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is welcoming back Paseo Por El Westside for the first time since 2019, having postponed the last two years due to the pandemic.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, people from all over the city can enjoy learning about the history and culture of one of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods. The event is happening at Rinconcito de Esperanza, located at 816 South Colorado St.

An hour-long walking tour of the neighborhood will begin at 9 a.m., followed by a day full of workshops ranging from cooking lessons, holistic healing practices, tradition dances, music and more.

“We believe that our history of the west side is also San Antonio history, San Antonio culture and U.S. culture, and we want to preserve all of that,” said Graciela Sanchez, director of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.

The MujerArtes studio is also having a Mother’s Day sale during the event. The studio is a 25-year-old program that allows women from the west side to earn supplemental income in order to help make ends meet.

“We try to make sure that the art is affordable, but as consumers of their art also respect that it takes time to make these pieces,” Sanchez said, adding that many of the pieces make great gifts for the moms, abuelas (grandmothers), and tias (aunts) in your life.

Luissana Santibanez, a San Antonio native, will be assisting with running a rebozo healing workshop.

“The rebozo symbolically means the threads that kind of bind us and weave us all together—not just individually with our families, but as a community,” she said, adding it’s a practice she was unfamiliar with until she started coming into these community spaces.

“It means a lot to be able to be part of those spaces, to reconnect and keep learning about what our culture has to share,” Santibanez said.

While there is much to be celebrated on the west side, it is in a constant battle with gentrification and displacement of mostly Latino families. The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is dedicated to preserving adobes, smaller homes and the stories of the people who live in the neighborhood. 

Events like Paseo Por El Westside help them share the importance of preserving their history.

“(The neighborhood) is unique to San Antonio and to the State of Texas,” said Sanchez.

Members of the nonprofit say the community-centered event is without several of the buena gente, or  “good people,” they lost to COVID-19.

“We have that memory of them here,” said Santibanez, who will help run the event. “I think also there’s this urgency to come back out and open the space to community so we can keep building memories, while we have this time together.”

The free, family-friendly event is open to anyone who wants to come.


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